Shipping labour reform

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Shipping labour reform

The need to make significant reforms to the Australian shipping industry labour market was one of the more significant recommendations of the report recently handed down by the federal Government initiated Shipping Reform Group.

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The need to make significant reforms to the Australian shipping industry labour market was one of the more significant recommendations of the report recently handed down by the federal Government initiated Shipping Reform Group.

The Shipping Reform Group’s report, ‘A Framework for Reform of Australian Shipping’, made the following recommendations in relation to the shipping industry labour market:

  • introduce a system of company employment and abolish the current Seafarers’ Engagement System (ie an industry engagement system);
  • alter the leave provisions in order to increase the crew to berth ratio (currently the crew to berth ratio is 2.2, the report recommended that that ratio be brought down as close to 1.7 as is possible by introducing leave provisions which are closer to community standards and in line with OECD practices for leave); 
  • abolish the Seafarer’s Workers Compensation scheme and allow seafarers to be covered by relevant State or Territory workers compensation scheme; and, 
  • replace the various current redundancy arrangements (under which there are a number of significant discrepancies) with a common approach agreed to by the Ship Operators which is more in line with community standards, the cost of which should be borne by the industry.

Fundamentally, the Report was critical of the Shipping industry operating under a number of unique systems pertaining to labour. The Report seeks to break down those systems, and install labour market systems which are common throughout the rest of the community.

 

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