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Public Submission

Dean Summers - 14 February 2014

The International Transport Workers Federation ITF

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a federation of 681 transport worker unions in 148 countries, representing 4,500,000 transport workers. ITF has shifted its focus to concentrate closely on campaigns, international networking and union organising.
Based on international solidarity since it was founded in 1896, following cooperation between Dutch and British maritime unions during a strike, the ITF uses its industrially-based structures to build the union strengths of port workers, seafarers, aviation workers, road transport and railway workers.

The ITF’s 60-year old Flag of Convenience campaign supports the rights of seafarers in the world’s oldest globalised industry. Maritime unions’ efforts culminated in 2003 in the first ever internationally bargained, worldwide collective agreement.

In road and rail transport as well as in ports and airports, the ITF is dealing with multinational corporations and developing policies to build industrial muscle in today’s boom industry - the logistics sector. Here, as in the passenger transport industry, changing employment structures have led the ITF to look closely at the profile age and gender of the workforce.

Led by its affiliated unions, today’s ITF is responding to globalisation with a planned approach to organising along global transport and supply chains, coupled with strategic campaigns to ensure transport workers’ rights are respected the world over."

The ITF’s FOC Campaign

The FOC Campaign has two elements:

Over the past 60 years the ITF's maritime unions have developed a set of policies that seek to establish minimum acceptable standards for seafarers working on FOC vessels.

These standards form the basis of the ITF’s Collective Agreements, which set the wages and working conditions for crews on FOC vessels irrespective of nationality.

Around a third of all FOC vessels are currently covered by ITF agreements, thus giving direct protection to well over 150,000 seafarers.

Compliance with ITF agreements is monitored by a network of over 130 ITF Inspectors in ports throughout the world.

The FOC Campaign is the joint responsibility of the ITF’s seafarers' and dockers' unions. Both groups are represented on the Campaign’s decision-making body, the Fair Practices Committee (FPC).

The involvement of the Dockers’ unions, whether through direct action or through co-operation with seafarers' unions, continues to be vital to the success of the Campaign.
While the political campaign has not so far succeeded in preventing the growth in ships using FOC registers, the industrial campaign has succeeded in enforcing decent minimum wages and conditions on board thousands of FOC ships.

In addition, the ITF has become the standard-bearer for exploited and mistreated seafarers throughout the world.

Every year the ITF and its affiliated unions recover millions of dollars in backpay and in compensation for death or injury on behalf of seafarers who have nowhere else to turn.

ITF Seafarers Trust

The ITF Seafarers Trust was established by the ITF Executive Board in 1981 as a body with charitable status under UK law.

It is dedicated to the spiritual, moral and physical welfare of seafarers irrespective of nationality, race or creed.

Its funding comes from the investment income of the ITF Seafarers' International Assistance, Welfare and Protection Fund, more usually termed the ITF "Welfare" Fund. That fund, despite its name, is used to provide a wide range of trade union services to seafarers. The Trust, on the other hand, is limited to supporting projects, which directly benefit individual seafarers' spiritual, moral or physical welfare.

Trust Deed of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust

Below is an extract from the Trust Deed of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust ,a  registered charity under United Kingdom Law. One of the largest beneficiaries of the ITFST is the Apostleship of the Sea. Through affiliates of the ITF we have a close working relationship with the AOS worldwide. Trust staff meet on a regular basis with Fr Bruno Ciceri of AOS International. Bruno Ciceri is also Chairman of the International Christian Maritime Association.

It is a requirement of the Trust’s internal rules that all applications for grants need the endorsement of an ITF affiliate and in the case of the AOS the endorsement of the Vatican as well through Bruno Ciceri. This leads to a very close working relationship between affiliates, The Trust, and AOS. This is  no different in Darwin.

3.         Objects

The Trustees shall stand possessed of the Trust Fund UPON TRUST to apply as and when they shall think fit, the same and the income thereof:-

(a) in relieving financial hardship, sickness and disability amongst Seafarers;

(b) in promoting the spiritual and moral welfare of Seafarers;

(c) in providing, or assisting in providing, in the interests of social welfare, facilities serving international ports for recreation or other leisure time occupations for Seafarers and other Maritime Workers of all nations who are in need of such facilities by reason of their youth, age, infirmity, disablement or social or economic circumstances with the object of improving the condition of life of such Seafarers and other Maritime Workers;

(d) in relieving Seafarers' spouses, civil partners, children, widows and widowers and other dependents who are in conditions of need, hardship and distress;

(e) in advancing the education of Seafarers for the public benefit;

(f) in advancing the education of the public in general on the subject of Seafarers Rights and to promote research for the public benefit in all aspects of that subject and to publish the useful results; and

(g) in promoting and preserving the health and safety of Seafarers with the aim of preserving life".


Dean Summers
ITF National Coordinator