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2 EFEECTIvE MANNING fief festive manning ~ encompasses innovations in the crewing of merchant vessels, including both the number and functional organization of the crew, which improve cost-effectiveness, the human environment of the workplace, and safety. It also includes supporting innovations in vessel design and operating technology, the management structure and operating practices of ship operating companies, the policies and practices of labor unions, and government statutes, regulations and programs, and the structure and process of collective bargaining. Some manning changes which increase productivity have adverse socio- ~conomic effects, i.e., decreasing employment and increasing workloads. These f requently are coupled with compensating increases in wages and prerequisites. However, other manning innovations have the potential for simultaneously increasing productivity and improving working con- ditions, e.g., interdepartmental flexibility, decentralized decision making, participative work planning, employment and assignment continuity, and increased training . Effective manning became an objective in the early 1960s when vessel operators in Northwest Europe and Japan sought to take advantage of shipboard automation to reduce their operating costs, in part by reducing crew, as a counter strategy to the more cheaply manned and operated fleets of developing nations, flags of convenience, and the more heavily subsidized fleets of Eastern bloc countries. Since labor costs prior to the 1973 oil crisis contributed heavily to the operating expenses of ship operating companies in industr ialized counts ies, crew reductions were eagerly sought by management. The high cost of labor was not, however, the only stimulus. The severe and chronic shortage of maritime manpower throughout the worldwide fleet expansion of the 1960s and early 1970s was a strong inducement for management, labor, and government to be flexible with regard to negotiated and legislated manning scales and work practices. (In contrast, rare' y has the United States had a shortage of maritime manpower except in time of war. ~ The initial manning reduction efforts: Of the ~ Sync =1 cm -~, Ned we to Northwest European government and industry commitment to industrial democracy, and concern for the quality of working life. ~ ~ _ _ ~——_ ~ _ ~ ~ ~ ., 7
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8 Manning innovations have character istically consisted of smaller complements of seafarers tasked with enlarged technical and manager ial responsibilities, usually on newly constructed, often highly automated vessels. These technological and organizational innovations have been accomplished by various means. In many cases, they have been developed through research efforts of individual companies and their unions, sometimes drawing expertise from larger multicompany shipping associ- . . ation research projects. Government agencies have sponsored basic and applied research preceding shipboard exper imentation, and occasionally have provided monetary support for the exper iments. Government agent ies also have prov ided regulatory vat lance when necessary for experimental purposes, and made permanent regulatory changes consequent to experimental success. A more recent role played by government has been the active promotion of integrated technical and organizational innovations (i.e., ships, equipment, and crew structures) leading to highly competitive new ship construction. Promotion, in this case, consists of hinging builder and/or operator subsidization on participation in substantial research programs, including shipboard exper imentation. West Germany's Ship of the Future program (Schiff der Zukunft) and Japan' s Modernization of the Japanese Seafar ing System and Shipbuilding programs are examples of this approach. In contrast to the manning innovations tr fed and made in the merchant f lee ts of Northwest Europe and Japan, comparatively little has been tried or accomplished in the United States. Most U.S.-flag merchant vessels operate at manning levels higher than those cuff com- peting f leets. No programs have been developed in this country to harness the best cooperating e ef forts of management, labor, and go~rern- ment to make the United States f feet more competitive. The worldwide mar itime business climate has changed in many ways an issue . A sharp economic r ever Sal has beset the Ship operating Industry Prom the mid-19tOs to the present. Maritime manpower is in oversupply. The pr ice of bunker ing and the cost of capital have surpassed and overshadowed manning costs in their proportional contr ibution to total vessel operating expense. Yet competition continues to intensify as a Result of the shipping recession. THUS, manning reduction and attendant organizational innovations continue to be attractive objectives. Although increased fuel eff ic~ency and reduced capital costs also are important goals, government, industry, and labor all agree that manning innovations will be important to the competitiveness of the U.S.-flag fleet. The means of accomplishing the necessary changes is the basic issue. since effective manning became
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