ITF unions act on Philippines disaster

13 Nov 2013

ITF unions have been taking action to relieve the suffering of those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Trade unions in the Philippines have been replacing local government services in the wake of the tragedy, distributing food, drink and other supplies.

Two maritime unions are working heroically to deliver emergency supplies. The Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) is using its training ship the Kapitan Felix Oca to get supplies to the worst affected area for the indefinite future, while the Philippines Seafarers Union (PSU) has been attempting to distribute food and drink in Cebu Province and the island of Leyte.

The ITF and affiliated unions are supporting this work on the ground through financial donations.

The ITF is also working with ISWAN (the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network) on practical measures to assist Filipino seafarers who are desperate to find out what has happened to their families.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin stated: “Our sympathy is with all the victims of this awful event, and our thoughts are with them and all those in the country and around the world who are trying to help them. Unions have taken up the challenge of providing the emergency aid that is needed following this disaster. We in the wider ITF family are supporting them all the way. We commend their inspiring example, and that of all the organisations, agencies, individuals and governments who are working tirelessly to help those affected by this awful tragedy.”

Crumlin also emphasised the need for employers to support Filipino seafarers, for whom communication with home is absolutely vital. He called on shipping companies to help identify seafarers who have been directly affected by this family. He also called for companies to help those who have lost family members, to offer support though emergency compassionate leave, to guarantee that jobs will not be put at risk if seafarers need to go home, and to help with repatriation.

He continued: “Filipinos work worldwide, in many sectors, and we hope that in all of them they will receive the support and understanding they need, from employers, embassies and governments.”

Find out more about ISWAN’s work here >>