Trade union representatives should be granted free access to ports

Trade union representatives should be granted free access to portsThe procedure for issuing the entry permits to Russian ports for trade unionists should be as simple as possible, said Nikolai Sukhanov, the Chairman of the Far Eastern Territorial Organization of the Seafarers’ Union of Russia (SUR FETO). He suggested to discuss this issue at the meeting of SUR Council in March, as trade union inspectors everywhere face difficulties when obtaining port access passes. Thus, at the end of December, the SUR FETO employees had to undergo a complicated registration procedure to get annual entry permits to the port of Nakhodka for visiting ships and meetings with seamen. 

“Since at present the port of Nakhodka is divided into a large number of cargo terminals, it is required to have a separate personal entry permit to get to each of them , so we had to receive 20 same documents,” said Nikolai Sukhanov. “Each time they received the permit, the trade union employees were instructed on labor protection, fire safety and explained why they need to have access to the port. Not to mention that it took three or four days, or even several weeks, to agree each document. The obstacles are thrown by port security services.”

“We were told that in accordance with the Russian Federation Government Executive Order № 907-r dt 24.06.2008 the port visits are allowed to the Port State Control Officers only. When we cited the Trade Union Federal Act, according to which the union representatives are free to visit their members' workplaces, they agreed with the legality of our demands, but they offered us to get to ships by-passing the port gates—that means using watercfart!” Nikolai Sukhanov was indignant. 

The SUR FETO employees appealed to the Transport Prosecutor's Office and reported about the checkpoints where the paperwork obstacles were created. Only after the supervisory authority had contacted the port security services the Inspectors succeed in obtaining the entry permits. Nevertheless, one of the port Nakhodka terminals ‘Livadia’ refused to issue documents, referring to the above-mentioned Government Executive Order. 

“I think that in the current situation this issue should be submitted to the SUR Council meeting. Perhaps we should apply to the Government of the Russian Federation to amend the Order and eliminate disagreements concerning the procedure of issuing port entry permits,” said Nikolai Sukhanov. 

 Alexander Bodnya, Chairman of the SUR Baltic Territorial Organization strongly agrees with his colleague. 

“This is the long pending issue. Now all Russian ports require one entry permit to get to the port territory, another—to visit the ship. Previously, you could pass to any port of the Soviet Union while having any one port entry permit. Personally, I used the “card " issued to me in Leningrad and visited the ports of Odessa, Kaliningrad and Novorossiysk without any difficulties,” said Alexander Bodnya. “I think we should raise this point at the SUR Council meeting and send an appeal to the relevant authorities asking them to facilitate the procedure of getting access to ports for the union members.”

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