What we do


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What we do

This section is about the activities of the union.

We are a busy union, representing thousands seafarers around the world. 

Our aim is to improve working conditions for seafarers. Here are some of our activities:

  • Negotiating collective bargaining agreements (CBAs)
  • Assisting seafarers with individual grievances and disciplinary cases
  • Sharing information and giving advice
  • Giving legal advice and assistance where appropriate
  • Visiting ships and seafarers on board
  • Educating seafarers through training seminars
  • Lobbying internationally to improve standards at sea

You can read more about what we do below...

You can also find information on how to make a complaint; what to do if you are facing disciplinary action or have been dismissed and other useful information.

If you want to contact us, send an email to mail@nsu.org


What we do

We have seminars in India, the Caribbean, Europe, Indonesia and the Philippines. If you are an active crew member in the cruise industry, apply to the seminar near you!

You will learn about your rights as a seafarer, the ITF unions, collective bargaining and the agreements, health & wellbeing, financial planning and more.

 The seminars are free for seafarers and their families and we cover the travel costs of the seafarer.

For more details, please email us seminars@nsu.org

Check out our instagram account for pictures of past events: https://www.instagram.com/norwegian_seafarers_union/

Find dates for our next seminars on our events page: https://www.nsu.org/no/nsu/events

We can answer your questions about working conditions, life at sea and more. We have information about agreements, salaries and the latest news from industry negotations. We can also guide you through issues at work and give you advice. 

Our services are free for those covered by our agreements. Please don't hesitate to contact us.

We are always trying to improve our communications so if you have any ideas, please send them to us.

Email us at: mail@nsu.org

We welcome all ideas and suggestions.

For details about AMOSUP benefits, please read this; AMOSUP BENEFITS 

For more detailed information on AMOSUP benefits in your company, click here: your-guide-to-amosup-benefits

What is a disciplinary?
A disciplinary procedure is a process for your employer to deal with concerns they have about your work, conduct or absence.

Disciplinary procedures are different in each company. You can find yours in your CBA. It might be an annex or included in the Code of Conduct. You can ask Human Resources for a copy or contact us here: mail@nsu.org

What happens when I am disciplined?
Firstly, the company should tell you why you are being disciplined.

Disciplinary procedures are designed to give employees the chance to improve behaviour so they usually have several stages. The first stage is a verbal warning. The next levels are usually a written and then a final written warning.

In general, you should begin at the first level of this process and be given the opportunity to resolve any issues. If your employer feels that your behaviour has not improved, they may decide to take the process to the next level.

Serious offences and dismissal
When there is a serious offence, employers may skip the first stages of the disciplinary process and go straight to dismissal. Serious offences include, but are not limited to, alcohol, violence and stealing.

Employers must follow a clear procedure if they decide to dismiss someone. Details of this procedure are in your CBA.

Most CBAs have a provision for a master/captain’s hearing. This is a hearing where you are given the chance to explain your version of events. Usually there will be the captain, head of HR and head of department.

You also have the right to be accompanied by a colleague of your choice.

Two things to remember if you are dismissed and facing a master/captain's hearing:

  1. You should have somebody with you. Take time to find a colleague who is available to attend the hearing with you. They should take notes, ask questions and generally support you.
  2. Submit your version of events. Take time to write down your version of what happened. You should submit this to whoever is leading the hearing. This may be useful if you decide to appeal the decision later.

Appealing a dismissal
Every crew member has the right to appeal a dismissal. You should contact us as soon as you are home. We will ask you to fill in our initial claim form and send us as much detail as you can about how you were dismissed. If you have any other documents that might be useful, you should send them too, such as emails from the company.

If you are dismissed and you feel the decision was not fair, please contact us as soon as you can at mail@nsu.org

We will do our best to support you through this process.



Please note:
If your ship is covered by an NSU CBA, you will NOT be asked to pay for any of our services.

All your contact with us is CONFIDENTIAL.

We will NOT share information about you with the company unless you specifically ask us to.


We negotiate with cruise companies to agree minimum standards for working conditions on board. These agreements are called collective bargaining agreements or CBAs.

Once the CBA is signed, both the union and the company agree to follow the rules within it. A CBA can cover one vessel or a fleet of vessels.

The NSU and the company must agree on each item before it becomes part of the CBA.

What is in a CBA?
CBAs set standards and regulations on issues like:

  • The maximum hours crew members should work in a week
  • How to deal with bullying and harassment
  • Wages
  • Maternity leave
  • Sickness and injury
  • Death and disability compensation
  • Grievance handling

The contents of a CBA is affected by several things:

  • Maritime Labour Convention (MLC),

A set of international standards and regulations that affect seafarers. International law is constantly being updated. All CBAs must reflect the most recent updates. You can read more about it in the dictionary MLC section of our website here.

  • ITF Miami Guidelines

The Miami Guidelines are in place to help trade unions signing CBAs in the cruise industry. Originally, a document created in 1994, they were revised in 2011 and are now part of ITF official policy. They are updated to reflect which international regulations should be included in the agreements. Read more about the Miami Guidelines here.

Today, most crew working on cruise ships are covered by a CBA. You should receive a copy of your CBA when you start work.

If you are not sure if you have a CBA, please contact us here: mail@nsu.org

Please tell us your job title, which ship you work on and for which cruise line.

CBAs are usually agreed for a two or three year period. Sometimes there are amendments during this time, if all parties agree. The time period of a CBA depends on what is agreed by the union and company.

Our negotiating team meets regularly with representatives from each company. We discuss ideas for improving conditions for seafarers and we will always promote issues that seafarers tell us are important to them.

Decisions about which union has responsibility for CBAs are agreed by the maritime unions at the ITF https://www.itfglobal.org/en/global/. Usually, these decisions are based on company ownership and history. Companies do not choose which union they would like to sign a CBA with. This must be decided at the ITF. You can read more about the ITF in the dictionary section of our website here

For more information on CBAs, click here 

‚ÄčNSU negotiates regularly with companies. Please tell us about any issues you want us to bring up at these negotiations. CBAs are your conditions of work. Tell us how you want them to improve.

If you feel you need to raise an issue or make a complaint, the best thing is to try to resolve problems as locally as possible. This means dealing with the person directly or talking to your manager to solve the problem. If this is not possible or it doesn't work, you have the right to make a complaint to anyone up the chain of command, even the captain. You can also just come straight to us and we can make a complaint for you.

Sometimes, seafarers feel it is best to make an anonymous complaint, even on behalf of a group working in the same place. We are very happy to help you with this and will not contact the company unless you specifically ask us to.

Each company will have its own complaints policy and we need to follow this in each case. 

If you need help, please contact us and we will advise you. Send your email to mail@nsu.org

Please note:

If your ship is covered by an NSU agreement (CBA), you will NOT be asked to pay for any of our services.

All your contact with us is CONFIDENTIAL.

We will NOT share information about you with the company unless you specifically ask us to.

In addition to negotiating with different companies and directly supporting crew, we also work internationally to promote seafarers’ rights. Through this work, we help to shape international law that protects seafarers.

Most of our international work is as an affiliate of the ITF (International Transport Workers Federation).

You find out more about the ITF here:  and what the ITF Seafarers Section does here 

International work helped to create the Maritime Labour Convention or MLC (find out more here) or watch a short film about it here: MLC film

We also participate in important work through the International Maritime Organisation, which is part of the United Nations (UN). Find out more about the IMO here)

Around the world, all year round, our union officers go aboard ships to speak to crew. We share information, give advice and listen to what issues are important to you.

Often, the same issues are reported to us on several ships. We take these wider issues to the company when we negotiate with them.

Usually, we will spend our visits in the crew mess, where we can talk to people while they are not working. Sometimes we also walk around the ship and speak to crew. Look out for us. Come and speak to us about any issues you have.

Any information you share with us stays confidential unless you ask us to share it.

Our aim is to visit all the ships covered by our agreements at least once a year. Most will be visited more than once.

If you would like us to visit your ship, please email us: mail@nsu.org

Find out which ships we are visiting this year. Click here: https://www.nsu.org/no/nsu/events

If necessary, our Officers will liaise with our legal team on your behalf. If you have a case that may need input from our legal team, it will be assessed for merit before any legal action is taken. Your NSU Officer will guide and support you through this process.

External lawyers

We are aware that there are external lawyers who offer their services to seafarers. Lawyers cost money. Our services are free.

Our advice is that, if you have a problem, you should contact NSU first. Our services are free and we will never take a percentage of any payments you may receive.

Please be advised that if you employ an external lawyer to help you with a issue, we will no longer be able to assist you with that problem.

Lawyers are expensive and you may be able to resolve your issue for free with our help.

Seafarers’ House is a welfare centre where crew can contact their families and get support. Our friendly staff offer a range of services and there is always someone to talk to. All seafarers are welcome. We have free internet and also a free service where you can get your parcels delivered to us. We can deliver them to your ship when you arrive in San Juan or you can collect them from us.

Visit our blog page: seafarerspr.org 

Find us on Facebook here

Find us in Instagram as: seafarershousepr


Find our location map here


Brochure 1  Brochure 2



  • Beware of human traffickers

    24.05.2024 Read more

  • 3rd Cruise Seminar in Croatia a success!

    13.05.2024 Read more

  • Read the results of our survey on bullying/harassment & sexual harassment

    13.05.2024 Read more

More news
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