SUR BASTO: our top priority is the seafarers' welfare

The Black and Azov Seas Territorial Organization of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR  BASTO) has reviewed the results of its 2018 performance. They evidence that the organization has performed productively and successfully: the BASTO increased the number of Union's activists, signed several collective agreements and kept on good practice of support youth, women and retirees.

According to the SUR BASTO Chairman,  Aleksey Belyakov, 235 new members joined the organization, 47 of them are future marine professionals, the cadets of Admiral Ushakov  Maritime State  University.  The Legal Department reviewed 27 applications of seafarers and their families which concerned various issues - from working conditions in companies to everyday problems. This year alone, BASTO provided financial aid  to 263 seafarers - they all needed financial support for one reason or another.

As for other performance indicators, the Labor Inspectors of the SUR BASTO visited 36 vessels under flags of convenience and seven Russian-flagged vessels, which called at the Novorossiysk port. During those visits the Inspectors examined  working conditions on board, including the compliance with dates of wage payment, wage rates, as well as the living conditions on board, the compliance with existing collective agreements.

This year, more than 480 seafarers, their family members and cadets visited the Poseidon gym, which was modernized  and fitted with new sports equipment this year.

SUR BASTO has been keeping to provide financial support to  young seafarers, women and retirees: in 2018 the organization rendered financial assistance to 126 union members, who became parents. The Union doesn't forget about the women working on board Unicom's ships: 46 women received congratulations and gifts in celebration of International Women's Day. Also, SUR BASTO honors the veterans: the Union, together with Sovcomflot representatives, arranged a special event on the retirement of 14 seafarers who took well-deserved rest. They received the  reward for their long service and contribution to industry's progress.

In 2018, due to the ongoing economic crisis, a number of vessels where our members had worked, were sold or sent for scrap, - added Alexey Belyakov. So, more than 100 seafarers are temporarily out of job. They are still the SUR members, and we, to the best of our abilities and possibilities, trying to help them to find a job.

Moreover, over the past year, the SUR BASTO signed three new collective agreements, one of them covers FOC ship and two other Russian-flagged vessels.

This means that now even more seafarers are entitled to decent working conditions that meet international and domestic employment standards. In 2018, we started to issue plastic union cards to seafarers with the SUR loyalty program linked  to it, - notes the SUR BASTO Chairman. - To date we have issued more than 230 such cards. One of the our  focus area for the next year  will be the extension of this program through the involvement of various companies. On the whole, the plans for the next year are same as always: SUR BASTO will continue to struggle for reliable social guarantees, safe working conditions and decent wages for seafarers