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Seafarers to be paid allowance for handling radio active cargo

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Sept. 19

FOR the first time ever, Indian ratings working on board ships carrying radio active materials will be paid a special allowance of Rs 4,000 per month or pro-rata as per a new two-year wage agreement signed on September 13 between the Indian National Shipowners' Association (INSA) and the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI).

The special allowance would be applicable for the duration of carriage of such cargo, said Mr Abdulgani Y. Serang, General Secretary, NUSI.

According to the new wage agreement, seamen will not be required to cancel their registration under the redundancy clause and the minimum age requirement of 40 years under the severance clause has been abolished.

The minimum amount payable to seafarers seeking retirement on account of severance and redundancy clauses has been revised from Rs 1,75,000 to Rs 2,10,000 for those below the age of 55 years, from Rs 70,000 to Rs 1,10,000 for those between the age of 55 and 58 years and from Rs 40,000 to Rs 70,000 for those above the age of 58 years.

Seafarers will also get an extra 25 per cent over and above their entitlement of the amount of retainer benefits.

The new wage agreement provides for an overall increase of around 9.37 per cent in wages and salaries for seamen employed on Indian flagships including an 8.33 per cent rise in basic wages alone. This will entail an extra outgo of Rs 1,614 per month per employee to the shipping companies.

Other components such as leave wages, leave subsistence, fixed and variable shipboard allowance and joining advance have also been hiked.

Trainees who are within the manning complement will be paid full wages as per the wage agreement. "If the trainees are over and above the manning complement, they will only be paid a fixed stipend '', Mr Serang said.

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