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Seafarers threatened with dismissal petition Maersk shareholders for help

4 February 2021

Dutch seafarers facing job cuts at Maersk Line have petitioned its shareholders to hold the company to account and support the campaign to preserve their livelihoods.

The 24 seafarers sent an open letter to the Maersk shareholders appealing for intervention with Maersk management, imploring the highly profitable company to stick to its own principles and end the forced redundancies.

'In the Maersk core values Maersk states: "The basic principle is that people can trust us." We therefore ask you to advise the Maersk management to stick to its own principles, so we can go back to work again,' according to the letter.

'Most of us have been serving with the company for over 25 years and strongly feel that Maersk is penalising us to boost profits.'

The affected seafarers feel particularly let down by Maersk management due to their own willingness to support the company during the global Coronavirus pandemic. 'Many colleagues at sea are eagerly waiting for relief and we are more than willing to relieve them,' the seafarers said.

The world's largest containership owner recently sold its five remaining ships that sail under the Dutch flag. Following the sale, Maersk announced that Dutch captains and chief engineers could remain in service, but that another 24 Dutch seafarers on the fleet would be made redundant.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) on job security was concluded in 2011 between the seafarers' union Nautilus International and A.P. Moller Maersk. The 24 affected crew still consider this agreement to be applicable.

Nautilus International senior national secretary Marcel van Dam said: 'It is incomprehensible to us and our members that a profitable company like Maersk, with over 300 ships in service, would not be able to find jobs for all 24 Dutch seafarers on their fleet in addition to the Dutch captains and chief engineers. Our members do not accept this and demand that Maersk will withdraw all announced layoffs.'