SijFa Cruises has
paid more than E20,000 (£17,087.55) in outstanding crew wages and social
benefits following a dockside protest by Nautilus International.
On Sunday 11 July
Swiss and Dutch Nautilus International officers launched a protest action
during the embarkation of a rivercruise vessel in Arnhem, Netherlands, against
The union had received several complaints about outstanding wages,
unpaid overtime and unpaid pension contribution in two cases
The union for
maritime professionals said from 2018-2020 it had received several complaints
from members working for the company about outstanding wages, unpaid overtime
and in two cases unpaid pension contributions.
made by crew include poor working conditions and refusal to offer medical
treatment following an injury.
Crew on three
ships owned by the Dutch shipping company were employed by a subsidiary, SijFa
Crewing in Switzerland.
Legal action in
2019 brought on behalf of members in Switzerland was thwarted when SijFa
Crewing ignored the court’s invitations and shortly afterwards dissolved.
subsequently restarted its business in Switzerland with a new address and an
authorised Swiss lawyer.
In 2020 the union again filed for court action against SijFa Crewing
to recoup unpaid wages
In 2020 the union
again filed for court action against SijFa Crewing to recoup unpaid wages on
behalf of four crew members. On 10 September 2020, a first conciliation hearing
took place at the court in Glarus, Switzerland.
officially acting for SijFa in Switzerland was present. However, he said that
he had had no contact with the management in the Netherlands since April 2020
and could not comment on the four wage demands.
In October 2020
SijFa Crewing filed for bankruptcy in Switzerland and was liquidated. This
means that Sijfa Switzerland no longer exists.
International is now trying to hold Sijfa legally responsible in the
Netherlands, which is very complicated and can take a very long time.
that all management decisions and all instructions to employees were always
made by SijFa Cruises in Holland,’ Nautilus International Switzerland branch
official Holger Schatz says.
‘We are of the
opinion that SijFa Cruises BV, Malden Nederland is responsible and liable for
the claims of the employees against SijFa Crewing Switzerland.’
After using the
Swiss flag in the past, SijFa now partly operates under the Maltese flag and
issues employment contracts through a ‘branch’ in Cyprus according to local
One example of the non-transparent corporate structures in the
‘This case is just
one example of the non-transparent corporate structures in the rivercruise
industry,’ Schatz says. ‘Companies often choose according to favourable tax and
labour law and, as this example shows, are very difficult to reach legally.
‘A lot needs to
change in the river cruise industry. Unpaid overtime and company constructions
in Malta and Cyprus are still a big problem at SijFa and elsewhere.