Mumbai, Jan 14 (PTI) The government has “in principle” approved the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) demand of extending employee welfare measures such as provident fund and pension to the seamen community.
The move is expected to benefit around 4 lakh Indian seafarers of all ranks working onboard Indian as well as foreign ships, NUSI said in a release.
NUSI, the apex body representing a large section of seamen in the country, had in June petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking these benefits among others for the seafarers, saying the community is also ””the second line of defence” in times of calamities and wars.
“The central government has recently given its in-principal approval to the demand of NUSI to offer provident fund, gratuity and pension benefits to Indian seafarers,” the union said.
NUSI General Secretary-cum-Treasurer, Abdulgani Y Serang said that the “agreement to extend the benefits of provident fund, gratuity and pension to all ranks of more than four lakh merchant navy seafarers working on both Indian and foreign flag ships was reached at the 137th meeting of the board of trustees of the Seamens” Provident Fund under the Chairmanship of Director General of Shipping, Amitabh Kumar.”
Seranag, who is also executive member of the International Transport Workers” Federation (ITF), said the board of trustees’ meeting took place on January 11.
While the provident fund for seafarers is in the statutes for Indian flag ships, the gratuity and pension is still a bilateral arrangement between NUSI and the shipowners as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, according to the seamen”s body.
For nearly two decades, NUSI has been demanding the benefits of PF, gratuity and pension to become statute for all ranks of seafarers — officers, petty officers, ratings, and others serving on both Indian and foreign flag ships.
On the instructions of NUSI, more than 25,000 seafarers had signed a petition addressed to the Prime Minister during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, said the release, adding that “post this, the demands of NUSI have been finally met.”
The extension of these welfare measures to seamen will help in taking care of them when they are not working on ships, Serang added. PTI IAS ANS
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