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seafarers of Indian foreign ships to get PF,gratuity and pension benefits soon

Jan.15,2021: Around four lakh Indian seafarers of all ranks working on board Indian and foreign flagged ships moved a step closer to getting provident fund, gratuity and pension benefits after their long-pending demand was accorded “in-principle” approval according to a report published in Hindu Business line.

The Board of Trustees of the Seamens’ Provident Fund Organisation (SPFO), headed by Amitabh Kumar, Director-General of Shipping, backed the demand at a meeting on 11Th jan.

“An in-principle decision has been taken by the SPFO Board of Trustees to extend these benefits to all seafarers working on Indian and foreign flagged ships,” Amitabh Kumar,  who chaired the meeting, told BusinessLine. “With the in-principle approval, the SPFO will now work out the modalities, take approval from the Board of Trustees and make a recommendation to the government. The final decision to amend the Seamens’ Provident Fund Act, 1966 to extend these benefits will rest with the government,” Kumar added.

While the provident fund for seafarers employed on Indian flag ships is covered by the statute, gratuity and pension benefits are still a bilateral arrangement between the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) and the ship owners as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement or wage agreement for seafarers.

“For nearly two decades, NUSI has been demanding the benefits of provident fund, gratuity and pension should become a statute for all ranks of seafarers- officers, petty officers, ratings, others serving on both Indian and foreign flag ships,” said Abdulgani Serang, general secretary-cum treasurer of NUSI, which represents general purpose staff employed on ships.

Serang represents NUSI on the board of trustees of SPFO.