Finland - Labour Union Action
A Member was recently subjected to a boycott of stevedore services in Finland, instigated by the actions of a local labour union (‘FSU’) who are affiliated with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (‘ITF’).
Whilst loading, a local labour union representative boarded the vessel, unprompted by any request by crew or otherwise, and demanded to see documents relating to the employment of the crew. The union was provided with copies of a valid Maritime Labour Convention Certificate and confirmation that the Filipino crew were working under Collective Bargaining Agreements (‘CBAs’) that met with or exceeded the limits required by the ILO/MLC. The crew were also members of a labour union in the Philippines. Despite Members having all requisite documentation in place, the FSU demanded that the crew sign new Finnish ‘ITF’ version CBAs and pay backdated ITF dues. The FSU threatened that if this did not occur, action would be taken against the vessel. Whilst local legal correspondents with relevant knowledge of the union’s practices were instructed, negotiation proved impossible and, after a request from the union, stevedores stopped loading operations.
The Club’s local legal correspondent swiftly filed an application on Members’ behalf for an injunction against the local union to stop its boycott and to continue operations, and this injunction was quickly awarded by the Finnish Court and enforced via bailiffs upon the union representatives. The vessel was then able to resume loading.
Members are consequently advised to be aware of the possibility of boycott by ITF affiliates in Finland and to contact the Managers for advice when needed.