What we do

Negotiating terms and conditions at work

Find out how NSU negotiates your terms and conditions at work.

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.


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