The IBF is unique. It is the first and only truly global collective agreement. The industrial relationships established by ITF, IMEC and IMMAJ are currently unmatched. It is a legally binding agreement that sets out the wage and working conditions of seafarers on board flag ships of convenience in international trade. The IBF is a true emblem. It has helped all its parties to cooperate to reach a new agreement for seafarers, for maritime transport and for the benefit of the parties concerned. Once the agreements are signed, PSU forwards them to POEA for authentication. PSU makes available to the Agency/owner two sets of poea authenticated agreements for its file and for the maritime file. The IBF Framework Agreement is negotiated every two years. Once the framework agreement is negotiated, ITF member unions enter into local negotiations with companies in their countries. These local negotiations result in national agreements and sometimes IBF agreements at company level.
While fees may vary slightly, all IBF agreements must be within the agreed framework for the IBF period. IBF agreements are only available to GNG member shipowners and can only be signed by ITF member unions. The most important instrument of this partnership was the IBF – the International Negotiating Forum that brings together the ITF and international maritime employers who form the Joint Negotiation Group (JNG). In 1999, the ITF and IMEC began negotiations for the first time. Soon after, another group of ship owners, the International Mariners Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ), also entered into dialogue. The JNG was officially established in 2003 and has since expanded to the Korean Shipowners` Association (KSA) and Taiwanese company Evergreen. When the ITF meets to negotiate with the JNG, the resulting group is called the International Bargaining Forum (IBF). The IBF has objectives and internal regulations. IBF negotiations are separate from discussions on the ITF framework and other ITF agreements. .