Russia has declared the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) an ‘undesirable organisation’ on grounds that the ITF’s activities “pose a threat to the constitutional order of the Russian Federation”, the ITF said on Friday.

The ITF said it refuted all allegations of Russia´s Federation Prosecutor General Office and said it “existed to protect and improve workers’ lives.”

Shortly after the Russian invasion began, the ITF union have stood steadfast in solidarity with all working people drawn into this conflict.

“We continue to call for a just and sustainable peace based on international human rights and humanitarian law,” says the union, adding that ITF’s solidarity fund for Ukrainian transport workers and their families has been used solely for humanitarian purposes, with funds provided to independent affiliated unions and maritime charities.

“This designation will have significant ramifications for the 1.65 million Russian transport workers affiliated to the ITF at the time this designation was announced, and particularly for the almost 200,000 Russian seafarers – a significant proportion of whom sail on ships covered by ITF-approved collective agreements,” it said on Friday.

The ITF notes that its mission and activities in Russia and around the world are to support and advance transport workers’ rights.

Since January 2022, 11,405 Russians seafarers have been on board vessels that ITF has inspected, with ITF Inspectors recovering almost US$4 million in owed wages on those vessels.

The ITF is an affiliate-led trade union federation which has “continued to support Russian seafarers throughout the war, not only the many seafarers who benefit daily from the protections guaranteed under ITF agreements, but also those who have sought and received assistance from the ITF in the recovery of millions in owed wages and the repatriation of abandoned seafarers.”

The union concludes in its statement that continues to treat Russian seafarers the same as any other seafarer seeking ITF´s assistance and support.