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ITF launches SE Asia maritime action week

ITF launches SE Asia maritime action week

Manila: The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and its union affiliates launched their latest maritime action week yesterday in seven countries across South East Asia. The event, which runs from November 10-14 and takes in Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, comes on the heels of the successful East Asia and Baltic Sea action weeks. It involves teams of ITF inspectors and representatives of seafarers' and dockers' trade unions.

According to the federation, the event will have a particular focus in pursuing those suspected of the abuse of Burmese workers who don't have the protection of a union, following on from the ITF's shocking evidence of murder and slavelike conditions among exiled Burmese seafarers, especially in the fishing industry.

The week will allow ITF-affiliated unions to demonstrate their support for Burmese seafarers and fishers and work to prevent abuses against them. They will be particularly targeting Burmese-owned and Burmese-crewed vessels.

"Joint teams are on their way today in ports across South East Asia," said ITF maritime coordinator Steve Cotton. "As well as the normal search for vessels whose crews are not receiving the protection and pay they are entitled to, we will be doing everything we can to fight the filthy and scandalous abuses of Burmese workers who have had no option but to flee starvation or political repression at home and seek work elsewhere."

IFT has also stated that particular attention will also be paid to vessels belonging to Malaysian International Shipping Corp (MISC), which has refused to negotiate the implementation of ITF agreements on its ships.  [11/11/08]

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