MLC – Objectives and background

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MLC – Objectives and background. Haakon Storhaug. Background – why the MLC came into being. Since 1920 the ILO has developed more than 30 Conventions and a similar number of Recommendations regulating seafarers working conditions
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MLC – Objectives and backgroundHaakon StorhaugBackground – why the MLC came into beingSince 1920 the ILO has developed more than 30 Conventions and a similar number of Recommendations regulating seafarers working conditionsThese instruments had by the 1990’s become outdated and no longer reflected the changes that had taken place over the 90 years of the ILO’s existence.These instruments have a low and highly variable rate of acceptance among member states, from 2 ratifications to more than 60. Revising an ILO-convention can only be done by developing a Convention that replaces the old one.Thus new conventions that really only are changes or updates, have to be ratified by member states, a very time-consuming processBackground, cont’d.ILO Conventions differ greatly in scope and definitionsThere were weak inspection requirements, and thus weak monitoring of ILO standards.The ILO had already approved the revision of 7 Conventions, almost all of them pre-1950’sIn January 2001 the ILO proposed a radical departure from normal revision procedures, i.e. to consolidate most of the maritime standards into one large framework convention. Both ITF and the ISF accepted the proposal and asked the ILO secretariat and member states to start work on the new Convention.Background
  • Member states should take active part in the negotiations in order to ensure that they felt a sense of ownership and that there would be no obvious obstacles to ratification in the new Convention.
  • Usually it is the ILO secretariat which drafts new texts
  • The first meeting was held in Geneva in December 2001 which adopted general principles and objectives.
  • Objectives of MLCGather and update existing standardsEnsure that the instrument would meet today’s as well as future developments in seafarers’ working and living conditions in a global industry. The instrument had to be ratifiableImplementation, and monitoring and enforcement(at the national and international levels) A level playing field had to be createdPrinciples for the development of the MLC
  • The instrument should be based on existing ILO standards
  • The instrument should have standards that are clear and simple, and easy to ratify and implement
  • The instrument should have effective enforcement provisions
  • Simplified amendment procedures to the Convention
  • The instrument should be inflexible with respect to rights, but flexible with respect to implementation.
  • IMO-conventions should be used as a source of inspiration
  • ”No more favourable treatment”-clause
  • Principles for the development of the MLC
  • In general the objectives and principles were achieved.
  • What was not achieved?
  • full integration with ISM
  • panel of competent persons as for STCW.
  • The Maritime Labour Certificate was not part of the original objectives.
  • A result of approach to IMO-system of certification
  • The Shipowners’ representatives suppported the certificate becuase it would provide better protection during port State control
  • The Seafarers’ representatives suported it because it would compel flag States to become more responsible in achieving compliance with MLC requirements
  • Advantages of the MLC
  • The scope and definitions are og definisjoner er klarere enn much clearer than before
  • Applies to almost all standards (exception: accommodation-standards
  • It is now clearer which entity is the shipowner
  • The role of the flag State has been clarified
  • Reporting to the ILO will become easier
  • MLC has focused attention on decent working and living conditions for seafarers.
  • The MLC will be easier to update because its Code can be amended quickly and efficiently by using the tacit acceptance method.
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