IV Congress of European Transport Workers' Federation

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From 29th to 30th May 2013 IV Congress of European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) was held. This time delegates met in Berlin. ETF it is pan-European organisation gathering trade unions organisations from the transport and fisheries sectors. More than 2,5 million employees are members of 225 trade unions from 41 European countries. Only in the maritime transport ETF organising 77 seafarers unions spread in 33 European countries, among which all EU countries (c.a. 272,000 seafarers).

At the Congress the Polish transport sector was represented by: Trade Union Workers of PKP Federation, Seamen's & Fishermen's Trade Union Federation, National Maritime Section NSZZ "Solidarnosc", National Section of Port Workers NSZZ "Solidarnosc" and Polish Seafarer's Union. Two our delegates - Henryk Piatkowski and Dariusz Konkol - have participated at this event. As an observer Kamil Butler also took part. Just before the Congress Kamil was a participant at the meeting of the ETF Youth Committee which is starting its activity.

Delegates to the Congress have assessed ETF activities connected with previous four-year term, have elected the governing bodies (the President, the General Secretary and the Executive Committee) and have adopted financial report and ETF Work Programme for further four years. Besides usual procedures, they have the opportunity to participate in two interesting thematic panels. 

The two panels concerned the "Transport policy for the people" and "Trade unions transports for social progress". The panel discussion was reflected in the resolutions adopted by the Congress. We will keep you informed on these topics, especially in matters concerning our maritime section.

Now, a few words about the results of the election. Lars Lindgren was re-elected as the President of the ETF and Eduardo Chagas was also re-elected as the General Secretary. Jacek Cegielski from National Maritime Section NSZZ "Solidarnosc" was elected as Member of the Executive Committee. He is also the Vice-Chairman of ETF Maritime Section. In the sections of the ETF, Maarten Gutt from the Trade Union Workers of PKP Federation was elected as Vice-Chairman of ETF Railway Section. 

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Social Security for seafarers on NIS vessels

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On the grounds of information which we received from Department of Insurance and Social Security Contributions we inform that in early May 2013 Social Security institution directed a proposal to the Kingdom of Norway for an agreement regarding social security. Polish side is willing to extend this agreement for next three-year period.

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Seafarers taxes in Norway

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Amendment to the Convention on the avoidance of double taxation between the Republic of Poland and the Kingdom of Norway, announced from 2012, unfortunately has not entered into force in this year. Let us hope that the relevant authorities will cope with the ratification in this year and it will start to work from the beginning of the year 2014.

However, regardless of the change and when it is in force, the tax liability imposed on Polish citizen exists and probably will continue to exist.

There is, however, an important change in the Polish taxation law which allows seafarers for a more calmer look at fiscal future. According to the new provision of Art. 22 § 2a of the Tax Ordinance, from the beginning of 2013, Tax Authorities are obliged to reduce an advance payments paid by the taxpayers. There is only one condition - each taxpayer has to submit a proper written application regarding such reduction. An appropriate justification should be attached to the application.

The Tax Ordinance Act does not specify the form in which the taxpayer should apply for  the exemption from the payment of advances. It leaves the flexibility as to the content and form of such a request.

However, in order to facilitate seafarers to prepare such a request a form of the application prepared by the Polish Seafarers' Union you can find as the attachment to this information.

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