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Union officials led by Dr. Conrado F. Oca, together with the Norwegian Maritime Unions (NMU) – NMOA, NUME and NSU, recently concluded negotiations with the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) to renew the collective bargaining agreement for Filipino Officers and ratings serving onboard Norwegian-owned and controlled vessels (NIS and Model Agreements.

The day-long negotiations proved to be very fruitful as basic wages will increase for all Filipino seafarers under both agreements with effect from 01 January 2011.  Other provisions of both CBAs were also amended to be more reflective of workers’ needs and Philippine government regulations.

For example, responsibility for contributions or premiums to the Social Security System, Philhealth Benefit System, Employees Compensation Program and Pag-Ibig Fund, which are all necessary under national statutory provisions, are now clearly spelled out in the renewed agreements. Such revisions in effect increase the coverage of social benefits for Filipino seafarers.  In addition, a new Survivorship Pension Fund Scheme for seafarers’ widows will also be implemented for both agreements and will be wholly contributed by shipowners.

Presently, AMOSUP and NMU are responsible for negotiating with the NSA to cover over 650 vessels under NIS and Model agreements.  The process benefits at least 7,200 Filipino officers and ratings.  NIS agreements were first negotiated by Capt. Gregorio S. Oca way back in 1988.