Ministry of Transport Prepares Appeal on Seafarers' Medical Examination

Following the meeting of Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov with the leaders of all-Russian trade unions of marine and river transport, the Head of the Ministry instructed the Administrative Department and the Department of State Policy on Marine and River Transport to urgently prepare an appeal addressed to the Minister of Health of the Russian Federation on the issue of seafarers' medical examinations. Yury Sukhorukov, Chairman of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR), highlighted the need for the urgent resolution of this problem at the meeting in June.

It is worth noting that the Union repeatedly raised this issue at various relevant sessions and meetings with ministers to point out the forthcoming deadline for the implementation of the requirements of the STCW Convention regarding the medical examinations of seafarers. And so, the designated date (July, 1) has come, but in Russia we still have neither the approved list of certified institutions and doctors authorized to conduct medical examinations of seafarers nor the approved medical examinations form. It remains to be hoped that the request of the Ministry of Transport will speed up the process of bringing the legislation in line with international requirements.

The initiatives of Vasily Kozarenko, Chairman of the Dockers' Union of Russia (DUR), didn't go unnoticed either. He asked the Minister to render assistance in stopping contracted work, forbidden by labor legislation, at seaports. To address this issue, it is necessary, among other things, to recognize inadmissible the application of civil law contracts, which stevedoring companies use for outsourcing through engagement with would-be recruitment agencies or use them to move out these contracted workers by concluding civil contracts instead of employment contracts. In addition, Vasily Kozarenko asked the Ministry to defeat the discrimination based on a trade union membership. Some employers just deny port admission to many DUR activists. Besides, the port workers are strongly advised to withdraw their union membership.

It was noted in the record of the meeting, that the Ministry supports the actions of DUR aimed at the elimination of contracted work when performing cargo handling operations at port. In addition, Department of State Policy on Marine and River Transport has been commissioned to consider the issue of implementation of Article 11 of the Federal Law No. 10-FZ “On Trade Unions, Their Rights and Guarantees of Activities” regarding unhindered port visits by trade unions' members.

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