Grievance Redressal, there is no company in the world that has never had problems. With hundreds of crew members on board a single ship, and with many ships under their helm, cruise ship companies see grievance redressal more often than not.
Not too long ago, cruise ship jobs came with a blot of harsh working conditions and few rights for employees. But following media blow outs and pressure from the international community, many companies have changed their on board conditions and also provided measures for cruise ship employees to get their problems addressed.
In this regard, it is first important to know your rights as a cruise ship employee. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) lays down certain guidelines that companies are expected to follow for the well being of the crew on board. There are many agents and websites working under the radar, promising jobs and necessary training. One must be wary of these fly-by-night operators, as they might be working in collusion with companies violating the international Maritime Labour Convention laws with regard to work conditions and safety on board.
As a cruise ship crew member, you are entitled to a work environment devoid of bullying and harassment, overtime in case of responsibilities that go beyond your contracted hours, a minimum of 10 hours of rest every 24 hours, and approximately seven days of paid leave for each month of service.
The cruise ship company is expected to cover the cost of your flight home after your contract ends, and medical treatment if you are discharged due to sickness while on work. You also receive sick pay and compensation if you are injured at work, 14 weeks of maternity leave if you get pregnant and the right to join a trade union.
Cruise ship companies, like many land-based firms, have human resources departments to deal with any and all issues related to the crew. Redressal systems are different based on the cruise line, and in-depth information is always provided during or before orientation.
Typically, the key to getting your grievances redressed is to note down specifics of situations and report them to your supervisor. Feedback forms and management reports are part of quality reviews that occur on a regular basis. This is one important way of getting your voice heard regarding management and working conditions.
Cruise crew are responsible for reporting any harassment so it can be appropriately addressed. Emails and any reports for feedback or management reviews should be written as professionally as possible, without any derogatory remarks or discriminatory language. This will leave you in the clear during any investigations that follow.
It is advisable to follow the procedure detailed in the crew guidelines provided in your contract or during orientation. Typically, the hierarchy begins with your supervisor, followed by a senior crew manager, the human resources department, the managing director and finally the company. Further than this, specialist lawyers deal with bringing cruise companies to task for violating maritime laws.