I write with reference to your letter of 18th March on the subject of training.
I would like to point out that I for one am appreciative that Maersk provide the opportunity for us to take training courses and pay for us to do so. I am fully aware that many employers in our industry do not.
I have not detected, amongst my team on Dispatcher any particular increase in negative attitudes to courses. In general they seem to be interested in course availability for the year and enjoy what courses they do attend. There is however an attitude that leave is sacrosanct and that it should not be tampered with, altered, shortened or denied in any form. This is especially so during the last year or so when demands from charterers and Technical Organisation have very tangibly increased work load and ‘pressure’ levels. I’ll use the word ‘pressure’ and not the more common ‘stress’ as the latter is also taken to infer (probably quite rightly so), an inability to deal with pressure.
Therefore attending training courses, while desirous for both employer and employee, can also be perceived by the employee as a point of conflict with the desire to see leave taken in an uninterrupted fashion. However as pragmatists, courses should be taken with alacrity and not refused or whinged about.
I believe that in the case to which you refer, the ‘meeting’ in one line of your letter and ‘course’ on another line and ‘seminar’ in the initial telexed request to the ships, the very vagueness of what the event actually was contributed to the negative attitude shown from the fleet. If it had been billed as ‘course’ from the start, I believe the response shown would have been more positive. A course is a very different beast from a seminar, at least as far as simple sailors and their leave are concerned. One is acceptable and the other ……. much less so.
I hope these few lines have been some help.