Spanish Sailors who worked in Norway, to approach ILO for right to pension 

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Valencia, Sept 22: Spanish Sailors who worked on Norwegian merchant fleets between 1950-1994 have stated that they have been denied their right to pension by Norwegian Authorities, and will now take their case to the International Labour Organization. The Association of Spanish Sailors in Norway Long Hope, will be meeting ILO officials in Spain in regards to their plight for retirement funds on Thursday.

The Association, in a press-statement issued on Monday, stated that they will be meeting the ILO director in Spain and the Norwegian Ambassador to Spain Johan Christopher Vibe to denounce the situation they are in.

According to the press-statement, since 1950 and up to 1994 around 12,000 Spanish sailors had been working on Norwegian ships and the sailors constituted to one of the most numerous foreign labor force on Norwegian ships for decades. “In 1967 Norwegian ships hired 4,094 Spanish sailors that were legally contracted by mutual agreement with the Spanish authorities due to the strong deficit of Norwegian sailors that afflicted the Norwegian merchant fleet”, said the Association president, Juan Lores

According to the press-statement, since 1950 and up to 1994 around 12,000 Spanish sailors had been working on Norwegian ships and the sailors constituted to one of the most numerous foreign labor force on Norwegian ships for decades. “In 1967 Norwegian ships 4.094 Spanish sailors that were legally contracted by mutual agreement with the Spanish authorities due to the strong deficit of Norwegian sailors that afflicted the Norwegian merchant fleet”, said the Association president, Juan Lores Nazara, through the press-statement.

He further stated that after reaching the legal retirement age, all foreign sailors working in Norwegian ships have been denied their right to a pension. “The Norwegian Authorities have ignored the years that we have worked in Norwegian vessels.Some workers have been working for up to 15 years on  Norwegian ships, they have been deprived of a fundamental rights. Rights that have been recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization (I.L.O.),” the association stated before adding that curiously this had been done by one of the standard-bearers countries in the defense of Human Rights.

Through the press statement, the association has also demanded that the Government of Norway fulfill their labour and social obligation by recognising the amount of years worked by Spanish sailors.

Previously, the Norwegian Royal Ministry of  Labour  had sent a letter to the Long Hope Association, in Catalina, on 1 February 2012 clearly stating that Spanish Sailors who had joined the Norwegian Ships before Norway‘s entry into EEA on January 1 1994,  were not entitled to pensions. According to the letter, this was mainly because of the rules of the National Insurance Act prior to January 1994, which stated that a Spanish (or other foreign nationals) employed under vessels flagged in Norway was fully insured under National Insurance scheme only if he was a resident in Norway or one of the Nordic states. The letter also mentions that the salaries of the mentioned sailors had not been deducted and no evidence of this had been brought forward that could lead to the revision of rights of the sailors concerned.

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