The Terms and Conditions of Employment
The principal justification for the modern formulation of the requirement to have a written agreement between the crew of a merchant ship and their employer was that it would provide for flexibility. The whole purpose of the founding of the voluntary National Maritime Board (NMB) was to set standard terms and conditions of employment for an industry in which the possibilities of differences in conditions of employment might otherwise be multifarious. The standard NMB rates of pay and conditions of ratings are very like those relating to officers, at least in form and scope. Radio officers have, broadly speaking, similar terms and conditions though their agreements are often worded differently. Because of the comprehensive nature of the NMB decisions relating to officers, the effect of most company contracts is to embellish the basic conditions. Altogether, the terms and conditions are not very far removed from the standard NMB agreements subject to embellishments.