The Mariners’ Association for Regional and International Networking Organization, one of the key industrial members of the Labor Education and Research Network, convened for the second time the seafarers under the so-called TAP (temporarily employed personnel) agreement in Swedish flagship on February 23-24, 2011 at the Hotel InterContinetal Manila in Makati City, Philippines, five (5) years after the initial one.
Some fifty (50) seafarers from various shipping companies as well as representatives from manning agencies, Social Security System (SSS), MARINO, SEKO, Akbayan and LEARN attended the meeting in anticipation of the former’s possible membership in both the Swedish Union for Service and Communications Employees (SEKO) and MARINO.
SEKO officials, who went all the way from Sweden, took part enthusiastically in the event. Among them is none other than the President of SEKO himself Janne Ruden, who, at the terminal part of the program, promised to respond to and include the reservations and concerns, respectively, of the seafarers in the next round of TAP discussions in Sweden. Some of the issues raised during the small group discussions and workshop include seniority-related matters regarding the transfer and reflagging of seafarers, pension and medical benefits, translation of important Swedish documents into English or Filipino, SEKO-MARINO cooperation and membership concerns, lowering the retirement age to better enjoy retirement benefits, provision of information packages, among other problems.
Overall, the event was deemed a success following the commitment made both by the seafarers and the seafarers’ organizations to launch more talks and cooperative engagements between them.