Shipowners and seafarer unions have struck a deal over a series of minimum wage rises through to 2025.

The two sides are calling the agreement a “safety net” for the sector.

The United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) again convened negotiations between shipowners and seafarers’ unions from across the world, coordinated by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

During the previous round of talk, concluded last September, the minimum wage was set at $648 per month from 1 July 2022.

Three annual rises from 1 January 2023 to 1 January 2025 will take this to $673.

Charles Darr, of the Swiss Shipowners’ Association and spokesman for the shipowners’ group, said: “The global seafarer workforce is central to the safe and efficient flow of world trade, and they are among the unsung heroes of the pandemic.

“This new deal is a win-win for both shipowners and seafarers.”

Darr believes the deal strikes a balance between rewarding seafarers for their incredible contributions to the global economy, while ensuring that shipping companies are able to remain sustainable and commercially viable, in light of the many challenges they face.

Sacrifice recognised

Mark Dickinson of crew union Nautilus International said: “Today’s agreement recognises the huge sacrifices and professionalism of the men and women working at sea and is a testament to the collective milestones the social partnership between seafarers and shipowners [has] historically achieved. Especially over the past few years.”

Maritime transport is the only industry with a formally recognised global minimum wage, which has existed since 1958.

The agreement applies to the rating grade of able seafarer.

The ILO minimum is reviewed periodically by the ILO Joint Maritime Commission, made up of employers’ representatives coordinated by the ICS and seafarers’ union representatives coordinated by the ITF.

The next review is set for 2025.