Estonian Seamen’s Independent Union (ESIU) unites ower 2500 seafarers, port and hotel workers over the country. More than half of our members work on board of passenger ferries operated by Tallink Group or in small companies on shore providing services for Tallink. Close to 400 members work under foreign flagged ships, rest of us work in other local shipping companies and ports.

ESIU was found in June 7, 1995, soon after MS Estonia ferry disaster in September 1994. It was entirely the initiative of survived crew-members and their colleagues, who found 0-support from government agencies and existing trade union organisation. The first initiator and chairman until 2004, Jüri Lember gave the most priority on negotiations of collective bargaining agreement and restoring shattered reputation of Estonian seafarers on international labour market. Secondly, participating in preparatory work of the Act of maritime labour and providing support to seafarers in need were our fields of activity during first years in service.

2004-2011 our chairman was, Kaia Vask. She put the emphasis on a quality of social dialogue with enterprises, but also in tripartite negotiations with government. Cooperation between employers, public administrators, workers and non-governmental organisations is essential in improving work environment.

2011- until today the chairman is Jüri Lember. He put the empasis on organizing, ensuring a safe working environment for members but also Maritime policy and the Maritime education.

Our union representatives participate:
• in tripartite negotiation with employers organisation and government, member of the delegation of the      Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL)
• in committees of the EAKL council
• in Estonian Maritime Advisory council
Additionally we have signed the ITF Uniform CBA on app. 30 FOC-flagged ships, regulating working and living conditions for crews mainly from Estonia.

ESIU supports
• Youth Camp of Future Seafarers
• Magazine Paat & Meremees
• Association of Estonian Ship Engineers
• Association of Estonian Deck Officers

ESIU is affiliated to:
Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL)
Estonian Transport Workers Federation (TAF)
International Transport Workers Federation (ITF)
European Transport Workers Federation (ETF)