Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the case about?

    Dutch shipowners discriminate. They pay Indonesian and Filipino crew members 60-65 percent less than others. This is against the law.

    The Equal Justice Equal Pay Foundation will bring a lawsuit in the Netherlands to recover the difference in your pay over the past 5 years.

  • Who can join the action?

    You can join if you live in Indonesia or the Philippines and worked on a Dutch-owned ship any time after 2016 (including today).

  • What is the Equal Justice Equal Pay Foundation?

    The Equal Justice Equal Pay Foundation is a non-profit foundation under Dutch law. It was set up to represent the interests of seafarers from low-wage countries. It strives to protect seafarers against exploitation and discrimination, and to raise awareness of their plight worldwide, including in Indonesia and the Philippines, the Netherlands and the EU; in the media, legal literature and scholarship; and with politicians and other policy- and decision- makers. It further seeks to maintain cooperative relations with domestic and foreign trade unions, and with other industry players and government agencies.

  • Who are the defendants?

    Dutch shipowners who, for years, have paid Indonesian and Filipino crew less than crew from other countries.

  • How can I join the case?

    It’s simple. Go to our website,, and fill out the registration form.

    To determine if you’re eligible, you need to send us or upload:

    • name and contact information
    • copy of your ID
    • copies of employment contracts
    • sample paystubs/pay slips
    • (if available) ship employment manuals/guidelines

    Email us at if you need help with this.

  • What documents and information do I need to participate in the claim?

    To determine your eligibility to join the case, we need your:

    • name and contact information
    • copy of your ID
    • copies of employment contracts
    • sample paystubs/pay slips
    • (if available) ship employment manuals/guidelines
  • Can I withdraw my registration?

    If you gave us your support but wish to withdraw, just send us an email at

    Once you assign your claim to us, you can no longer withdraw.

  • How does the Equal Justice Equal Pay Foundation pursue its goals?

    The Equal Justice Equal Pay Foundation sponsors academic research and other studies related to human rights, non-discrimination, equal treatment and equal pay, international law and maritime law. It will also pursue a damages collective action in the Netherlands on behalf of Indonesian and Filipino seafarers in Dutch ships and act as their representative in associated court proceedings, for which it has engaged specialist disputes Dutch law firm, bureau Brandeis.

  • What if we don’t win? Will I have to pay the shipowners’ legal costs?

    No. You will not be responsible for any “adverse costs” if the case is not successful.

  • How will the process proceed after I register?

    After you register, we will investigate your claim and check if all information is complete. We may follow up with further information requests. Once our group is large enough, we start our lawsuit in the Netherlands to recover the pay wrongfully withheld from you. Only if you joined our group you can receive backpay through our Foundation, if we are successful.

  • How long will the process take?

    We strive to get you your backpay as soon as possible. We will reach out to the shipowners before filing our case and at regular intervals to speed up the process and seek a speedy out-of-court resolution to get you your backpay as soon as reasonably possible. If the shipowners are unwilling to do the right thing, our legal action may take several years. Regular updates will be posted here.

  • What are the qualifications of the lawyers the Foundation has appointed?
    • Frank Peters is a partner at bureau Brandeis with 25 years of experience practicing law and is specialized in solving large cases. He heads a team of experienced class action lawyers.
    • Michelle Krekels is a senior associate at bureau Brandeis with 12 years of experience practicing law and specializes in dispute resolution, including mass damage cases, international commercial contracts and financial disputes. She is currently involved in several group actions.
    • Marije Hazenberg is an associate at bureau Brandeis with 10 years of experience practicing law. She specializes in commercial litigation in national and international cases, with a particular focus on lawsuits against companies.
  • If I register how will my personal information be processed?

    In the first instance, your personal information will be used only to determine whether you are eligible to collect on your claim, and for no other purpose. At all times, it will be kept in accordance with Dutch and European privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation. We will never share your details or information with a third party without your prior written consent.

    View our Privacy Statement here.

  • I was injured on the job and now have medical bills and was unable to work for months. Can the Equal Justice Equal Pay Foundation help me get compensation for that?

    No. The Equal Justice Equal Pay Foundation and its lawyers can only recover backpay and compensation for pay discrimination. The Foundation’s efforts do not include any claims for losses, injury or harm arising from accident, illness or death.

  • I cannot find my question here, is there another way to ask questions?

    Feel free to email us at at any time, and we will respond quickly. If you would still like to talk to us, then let us know and we will plan a call.

  • Could I join later, after the outcome of the proceedings is certain?

    That will probably not be possible. The only way to make sure that you can benefit from any compensation if we are successful is to register your claim with the Foundation.

  • When do I have to register to be a part of the claim?

    We are now open for registration and will remain so until at least 1 January 2023. Any updates on the deadline for filing will be posted on our website.

  • How can I stay informed about the proceedings?

    We will post updates about the case on the website (, under the tab “About”, then click on “Claim Status”.  We will also send a newsletter or updates directly to your e-mail address if you register your claim.

  • Can I participate anonymously?

    It is not possible to participate in the claim anonymously or under someone else’s name.

  • Is it free to sign up?

    Yes. You will not be charged for participating. Only if the case is successful will we charge fees and costs. They will be deducted from the compensation you receive.

  • Why do I have to sign an agreement to register for the claim?

    The assignment transfers your claim to the Foundation and makes it possible for the Foundation to claim your compensation in its own name. If the claim is successful, the Foundation will then pay you your backpay.

  • Could I attend the proceedings? (And could I do so digitally?)

    Court proceedings in the Netherlands are open to the public to attend in person. They are not normally streamed online but, if necessary, the Foundation will try to do this. Please check the updates on the website later on.

  • I would like to speak/give a statement regarding the discrimination I experienced, is that possible?

    We are very interested in your story. Please send us any information, by email or video, that you wish to share. Let us know if you would like to provide video testimony or a written statement to the court.

  • Why are the proceedings happening in the Netherlands?

    Since the claim will be brought against Dutch shipowners the case must be brought in the Netherlands, where the defendants are based.

  • What is the legal basis of this claim?

    A constitutional and statutory right to equal treatment and equal pay.

  • What are the chances that this claim will be successful?

    Unfortunately, it is not possible to make such predictions at this stage. The Foundation is very confident, however, that pay discrimination is illegal and that we will be successful. While there are no guarantees, we will strive to convince shipowners and the court that Indonesian and Filipino seafarers must be compensated for the wage discrimination that they suffered for years.

  • I also faced discrimination unrelated to my salary, will I get compensation for that as well?

    That is not within the scope of this claim. Compensation will be solely based on wage discrimination. Nevertheless, we are interested in hearing your story, as we believe it may be important for the judge to hear it. We encourage you to share your experiences by e-mail.

  • If you win, does that mean my contract changes for future work?

    We will seek an order from the court to stop any unequal treatment and unequal pay practices going forward.

  • If I sign up, can I still start a case against my employer myself for wage discrimination?

    No. If you sign up, you transfer your claim regarding wage discrimination to the Foundation and can no longer exercise it yourself.

  • If I sign up, can I still start a case against my employer myself for work related injuries?

    Yes, work-related injuries are not a part of this claim. You are not transferring your rights to start your own claim based on work-related injuries.

  • I work on a Dutch ship but my manning agency is technically my employer. Can I participate?

    Yes, you can still join.

  • Can you check my contract to see if I am eligible?

    If you register, your contract and your other documents will be reviewed for eligibility. You will receive confirmation if you are indeed eligible.

  • How do I know my documents will be kept safe?

    All documents are processed and stored within the same system. No third parties have access to this information. The Foundation works closely with experts on privacy law to ensure all data is processed in accordance with the GDPR.

  • What is happening to my data?

    Please read our privacy notice and our cookie notice and email us at  if you have any specific questions.

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