chapter  5
59 Pages

Collective Bargaining

In view of the importance of the collective bargaining arrangements to the way in which the law relating to the employment of seamen has been supplemented by industrial rules, some discussion of the various organisations involved in the process is unavoidable. The very nature of seafaring employment, covered by detailed and lengthy legislation administered by a separate government department, has meant co-operation with the owners on agreements covering nearly every aspect of the seaman's working life, and participation in a vast number of national and international organisations. The Merchant Navy Established Service Scheme marked only a nominal change in the collective bargaining pattern in the industry. The changes in industrial relations began with the unofficial strikes of 1960 which, although they began with a small dispute over discipline, mushroomed very quickly to take in a whole range of topics: the forthcoming wage negotiations, the Merchant Shipping Acts, shop stewards, and the democratic reform of the union.