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  • Contract of Employment

    Hi all, I am just looking for a little advice on an issue I am having with my sponsoring company.

    I recently received my OOW CoC, and I am to be employed as a 2nd Officer with a company operating ERRV's in the North Sea.

    I had to sign a form the other week stating that if I am put through my ITSO course and my Boatmans course and then do not sign a contract of employment with them, I will be liable for the cost of both courses and the cost of the hotel I will be staying in.

    My courses begin this coming Monday (27th May). I have been told that after the courses I will have to go into the offices for my induction, but I had no mention of signing a contract. So today I asked when I might be able to view my contract and sign it as I have absolutely no information on it at all.

    I have been told that my contract will be sent to me when I join my first ship, so it will be waiting for me to sign when I return from sea. I'm not sure if this is normal practice but this seems a little unfair to me. I will be sailing without knowing what salary I am on, what benefits I have or pension etc.. and if I then return home and do not sign the contract I will be made to pay back the cost of both courses etc.

    Can anyone offer advice on what my best option here is? Is it a good idea to go ahead and just sail without signing a contract?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Short answer is yes, join the ship. I am sure that you have already agreed some aspects of your employment like salary? - they are legally obliged to provide you with a 'written statement of employment particulars' which cover the basics of your employment if you are to be employed for more than one month. In short there is no requirement to actually have a contract - contracts just exist to protect both parties (you AND the employer) and in many cases the employer benefits more from the contract than the employee.
    Your organization probably has a collective agreement with a union if they are British company which will cover much of boring stuff and of course there cannot be any 'illegal' terms in your contract once you do finally see it, so there is unlikely to be anything in there which you will object to signing.
    If you are still worried, then ask to see a copy of the collective agreement, or ask someone who is already working there about the terms they are employed under.
    I worked for a large british company for 5 years without ever signing a contract without any problems - after a while you just basically form your own contract by 'implied terms'
    Cruise ship Captain with experience on-board Passenger Vessels ranging from 5500-150000 GRT.

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    • #3
      How long is the contract and what flag is the vessel they're planning to plonk you on board?
      I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

      All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by HolyNougat View Post
        I am sure that you have already agreed some aspects of your employment like salary?
        Thank you for getting back to me. I haven't been told anything about any aspect of my employment. Since I got my CoC I have just been given forms to sign, and then told to wait while they organise my ITSO and Boatmans courses. I still at this point have not been told what my salary would be.

        My problem here is that if I was to go to sea with them, I recently received an email from another offshore ERRV company asking if I am still available and looking for work. If I come home from the trip and then decide that the contract I am offered is not as good as another I might be offered from this other company.. I will have to pay back the cost of my ITSO and Boatmans courses. I would feel a lot more comfortable seeing a contract before I go to sea.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
          How long is the contract and what flag is the vessel they're planning to plonk you on board?
          It's a British flagged ship. I have no idea how long the contract would be, I think the norm that they offer is a two year contract.

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          • #6
            Honestly, its your first trip, take it. If you do decide to renage on the contract after you've completed, then you can easily neogiate some kind of pro-rata rate. In all honesty, these return of service bonds are difficult for companies to actually enforce and are not often supported in court.
            If the company is Vroon, I believe its 1 year bond.

            Grab the opportunity with both hands, do at least 6 months, then if you're not happy look for a job elsewhere.

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            • #7
              North Star? Pay is ?26145 with 4% bonus or something if you stay a year. Its funny how they make you sign for paying back the course fees but don't provide a contract.... they think they are clever! Probably why their fleet is populated with D grade officers with mickey mouse tickets.... so don't expect to learn much. For what its worth I resigned and they didn't ask me to repay for the joke ITSO and boatman courses.

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