RMIT University

07 June 2011

Union breaks new ground

Dr Victor Gekara researches Nautilus International.

Dr Victor Gekara researches Nautilus International.

Dr Victor Gekara from the School of Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University, has been researching international trade union, Nautilus International.

The union, which was launched in 2009, has recently taken steps towards cross-border unionism - a move that is seen as innovative and ground breaking.

“The value of Nautilus to its members – as a cross-border union instead of individual national unions – is great,” Dr Gekara said.

“Bringing together members from different countries opens up new possibilities to counter the negative consequences of globalisation (for labour).

“It will also form a model to assist others in the process of building effective international union alliances in the context of growing labour and capital transnationalism.”

The challenge of growing capital influence in the maritime sector is set to grow as some of the largest container carriers, who are also the largest employers of seafarers, continue on the path of expansion.

As smaller carriers are phased out and the industry becomes dominated by just a few major players, one union, operating across national borders and supported by a strong membership base, will have greater capacity to negotiate.

Nautilus International is currently one of the largest unions representing maritime professionals in Europe and is expected to gain prominence within the international shipping industry.

“While it is early days in the life of Nautilus International, it has shown great success so far and makes for an interesting case study,” Dr Gekara said.

“My discussions with the leaders and members have revealed great enthusiasm and confidence – a sound indication of a good journey ahead.”

Dr Gekara's research was reported in the June issue of the Nautilus Telegraph in the UK.

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