Director of VSHIPS: problems of seafarers and maritime labor market in Ukraine

Director of VSHIPS: problems of seafarers and maritime labor market in Ukraine

The employment of Ukrainian seamen is quite an important and topical issue for today. Structural globalization of navigation means an intense competitive struggle to reduce labor costs, use of cheap labor markets.

World News 3989 23 сентября, 2013

1. Features of the maritime labor market in Ukraine.

Today Ukraine ranks 4th among all states in the world as a country supplying labor in the maritime labor market. To significantly reduce the risks of employment, the state should ensure proper legal regulation of employment and raise awareness of citizens. The issue of employment is very responsible for the activities of the structures that are required to provide seafarers with the best possible social guarantees and proper working conditions. Ukraine is a recognized supplier of qualified marine personnel and today more than 70,000 Ukrainian seafarers work in the international maritime labor market.

Structural globalization of navigation means an intense competitive struggle to reduce labor costs, use of cheap labor markets. On the world market, its segmentation is becoming more insistent. One of the segments of the world market is formed by sailors of Ukraine. Signs of this segment are high professionalism, qualifications, communication skills and other factors. A study of the Ukrainian seafarers' labor market shows that at the moment Ukraine has not yet been able to form an integrated concept of regulation of the national labor market for seafarers. The country actually does not have a long-term strategy and real mechanisms that could fundamentally change the situation for the better.

2. Features of the implementation of MLS 2006 in the field of crewing in Ukraine .

Taking into account the fact that Ukraine is one of the world's largest suppliers of manpower (sailors) for the fleet and, as already noted, ranks fourth among all the world's countries in this indicator, in order to protect the rights of Ukrainian seamen it is extremely necessary to conduct in Ukraine work on the analysis, implementation and ratification of the Convention of the International Labor Organization "On Labor in Maritime Navigation"

In order for this document to become operational, it must have been ratified by 30 member states of the International Labor Organization (ILO), whose total share of the world gross tonnage of ships is 33%. These conditions have already been met at the moment and on August 20, 2013 the Convention enters into force and becomes mandatory for execution. At the same time, Ukraine has not yet taken measures to ratify the Convention. In the countries that signed this document, the activities of the crewing agencies a priori meet its requirements. In Ukraine, companies engaged in employment of seafarers will have to individually pass certification according to the standards of MLC 2006 and confirm their right to supply qualified Ukrainian seafarers to the international labor market.

Failure to comply with the standards of the crewing agency at a certain stage will play a positive role, as it entails the withdrawal of those agencies from the market who do not want or can not work in accordance with the requirements of the Convention. In particular, it prohibits taking money from seafarers at job placement, which is still done by a number of companies.

3. Features of the taxation of Ukrainian seamen.

According to Article 67 of the Constitution of Ukraine, all citizens are required to submit annual declarations of their property status and income for the past year to the tax inspectorates at their place of residence in accordance with the procedure established by law. The procedure and deadline for filing a tax return for the year (before May 1, next year) are established by the Tax Code of Ukraine. For seafarers who work on Ukrainian ships, the income tax is withheld and transferred by their employers at a rate of 15%. The tax rate of 17% applies to income that exceeds the tenfold minimum wage established by law on January 1 of the reporting tax period (as of January 1, 2013 the minimum wage is set at 1147 UAH or the equivalent of US $ 140. Tax agents are paid by the relevant Ukrainian agents companies - shipowners.

For seafarers working on foreign contracts with foreign shipowners, the tax rate for all types of foreign income is set at 15% and 17%, as in the cases indicated above, however, the procedure for paying taxes and the procedure for declaring income have their own peculiarities. So, the Mariners leaving the flight from foreign shipping companies are required to file a tax return on their income received abroad, together with a set of documents confirming the right to reduce the amount of the tax liability, to the tax inspectorate at their place of residence in Ukraine.

In accordance with the norms of international treaties, the consent to be bound by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the taxpayer can reduce the amount of the annual tax liability by the amount of taxes paid abroad.

In order to obtain the right to reduce the amount of the tax liability for the amount of tax paid outside Ukraine, the taxpayer is obliged to receive a certificate from the state body (authorized to recover such tax) of the country (in which such income is paid) on the amount of tax paid, as well as on the basis for charging it . Such a certificate must be legalized by the consular office of Ukraine in the country in question.

4. Medical insurance as an effective tool for social protection of Ukrainian seafarers

Today, the social security of Ukrainian seamen working on ships under a foreign flag, unfortunately, is not properly regulated. Ukrainian seamen and members of their families have access to a free state social security system, as well as all other categories of workers in Ukraine. This system includes medical care and other types of social support. Unfortunately, this social security is at a very low level today.

The Professional Union of Maritime Transport Workers of Ukraine MTWTU has developed a system of medical insurance for seafarers - members of the Trade Union, which can be used by all seamen working under the management of the company V.Ships (Wii Ships). The health insurance system provided by MTWTU in conjunction with the insurance company "Krona" is simple and at the same time very effective. According to this program, in the event of an insured event, the insurance company pays the cost of services provided to the seafarer by medical institutions. The Insured Seaman has a special card and, upon the occurrence of an insured event, can receive the necessary medical care. Today, more than 2000 sailors are covered with medical insurance "Krona" and this program has further development and prospects.

In addition to medical insurance, all sailors who are members of the trade union are provided with a variety of other social benefits, for example: if a seafarer or his children under the age of 18 years have undergone sanatorium health improvement in health resorts in Ukraine, the seafarer has the opportunity to receive partial compensation for the costs incurred on health improvement. In addition, a seafarer can apply to the trade union for material, legal and social assistance.

Also the company «V.Ships» has positive experience of health insurance Ukrainian sailors and their families under the program "Alianz" - where the insured has more than 700 families of senior officers working on ships under management of «V.Ships».

5. Support of marine education

The need for naval officers is growing. The international maritime community systematically introduces ever higher standards of quality training of marine specialists capable of professional growth and rapid conversion for the operation of modern vessels of all types. According to the latest statistics, the lack of officers in the world maritime labor market more than 30,000 officers and forecasts for the near future - about 40,000 by 2016. To remain a competitive state in the training of qualified specialists at all levels, it is necessary to improve the system of maritime education without delay. The entire system of training and professional development of marine specialists today is working with great strain. Marine educational institutions, as a rule, are certificated by qualifying societies and obligatory annually confirm their compliance with the requirements of the International Convention STCWV-78 as amended in 1995, but without swimming practice it is impossible to prepare a qualified specialist. And this practice must necessarily be part of the training program with an indication of the purpose and specific time frames. Neither an educational institution accredited by the Ministry of Education and Science nor a private training center can provide this core condition due to the lack of training courts.

The company "V.Ships" provides not only work for seamen who already have a certain length of service. We also have a so-called Cadet program for cadets and graduates of maritime educational institutions. Graduates of academies, universities and institutes, who tend to find work on the ship most difficult due to lack of experience, are given work for the seamen (Odessa, Kherson and Sevastopol - each of these cities now has its own branch of the crewing agency, which can be approached as a graduate of the training institutions, and a representative of the shipping company).

Providing work on the ships of V.Ships for cadets and graduates of maritime educational institutions opens up prospects for them to gain experience and increase professionalism on the chosen path.

6. Lack of pensions. Alternatives?

Since Ukrainian seafarers are not officially employed in Ukraine, and accordingly, the time of work of a foreign shipowner is not recognized by the state of Ukraine, when a seafarer reaches retirement age, he can not claim a decent level of pensions, and at best receive a minimum social pension by age .

The Law of Ukraine "On Compulsory State Pension Insurance" provides for the possibility of voluntary pension insurance. In other words: I enumerate myself, accumulate and pay a pension.

There are also non-state pension funds, it is difficult to assess the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of these funds, since personal savings are kept in national currency, which is quite unstable. You can get less than you invested 10 years ago, so it's not surprising that this alternative in the form of non-state pension programs is not popular among Ukrainians, as they can not be trusted in the long term. There is no doubt that taking care of your future is a necessity that is difficult to comprehend when you are young, but which becomes extremely important when a sailor reaches middle age. Personal savings and planning for their own old age should become priorities for every seafarer.

7. Practical experience in providing social guarantees for Ukrainian sailors covered by the IBF Frame Agreement.

After signing the IBF-Frame AgreementV.Ships Ukr and MTWTU, the experience in the development of social programs, namely the medical insurance of seafarers covered by the contract and the shipowner's payments for the development of maritime education in Ukraine, is a positive example and has further development.


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