Albert Kurbangaliyev, Director General of Sea Recruiting Agency LLC: “Operators of sea terminals will later recognize the advantages of outsourcing”
Employee leasing is an advanced technology of stevedoring companies’ HR management which is in use in the Russian market. Albert Kurbangalijev, Director General of Sea Recruiting Agency LLC, believes that operators of sea terminals will later recognize the advantages of outsourcing when it comes to both personnel and unified centers of mechanization and truck fleet.
- Mr. Kurbangaliyev, the amendments into the Law on Employment of Population and the Labour Code of the Russian Federation (No 116-FL) came into effect in the beginning of the current year. In this context, what has changed in respect of the requirements to the parties involved in the use of leased employees?
- In fact, the law has legalized the employee leasing but certain requirements should be met by both the companies providing employee leasing and the customers for which employee leasing will be permitted only on a temporary basis. As a private employment agency (PEA) we should have a charter capital of not less than RUB 1 million and required staff number, conclude an employment contract with an employee sent for temporary work and sign an additional agreement.
The key requirement of the new law is the following: payment conditions under an employment contract with an employee, sent to work for the host party, shall not be worse than the payment conditions of workers of the host party.
- Sea Recruiting Agency (SRA) specializes in providing employees for stevedoring companies. How is your interaction arranged in reality?
- Almost all stevedoring companies have their own specific features when it comes to cargo flows and business cycles throughout a year; cargo flows can surge and plunge depending on the season and market situation. From time to time cargo flows go beyond the capacity of the staff and companies have to look for more employees, mostly dock engineers of different qualifications.
There are two solutions. In-house staff can do the overtime work but this will result in higher handling costs per a tonne of cargo. There is an alternative and recent practices show that involving leased employees is more efficient from economical point of view.
Practically, a stevedoring company applies in a fortnight/ten days for unloading or loading of a vessel. Then we plan personnel deployment and confirm the scope of work required by a customer, issue pass documents and send the employees to work.
A wide range of contracts with stevedoring companies allows for shifting the teams of dock engineers from one terminal to another depending on the load. So we ensure a normal level of employment and stable income for the leased personnel.
- What are SRA customers and how many port workers are in its staff?
- We have concluded contracts with six stevedoring companies operating at Big Port St. Petersburg and port Ust-Luga. They make a core of SRA partners which is especially significant for us in terms of both the scope of work and the long experience of cooperation.
As for SRA staff, it numbers about 450 employees with different port-related professions. They are interested in high opinion about their work. By the way, we have introduced a feedback system for customers – a sort of rating both for of a group of workers and for individuals. Those with higher grade given by a stevedore have a higher chance to be invited next time.
- What do you think of employees willing to join the staff of stevedoring companies?
- Honestly speaking, all stevedores regularly apply for a transfer of some specialists. Earlier, when employing dock engineers all companies used to take risks of a wrong choice, while the employee leasing provides employers with an opportunity to take a closer look at individuals. As a rule we don't mind as we understand that such proposals are valuable for our employees. If you like, it is about our social responsibility which also lets us feel satisfied with a success of specialists brought up here.
To ensure professional development of our employees we provide a full-scale theoretical and practical training at our educational center available for more than 15 years. With an in-house fleet of handling equipment and a training area the educational center of SRA can train specialists for any port-related activity. We also have state-of-the-art simulators to train operators of STS and RTG cranes widely used at all container terminals today.
- How do you see the development of stevedoring companies’ business when it comes to efficiency of HR management?
- I have to admit that IT level of this business is not high so far. It seems to me, at least. However, there is an intent to process stevedore/docker/agency relations in the form of e-documentation like it has been working for a long time in other countries.
We have studied the experience of European ports. For example, many terminals there have now regular staff except for a minimum number of machine operators involved in servicing of handling equipment. Instead, there is a centralized “exchange of human resources” where stevedoring companies apply for personnel. Dock workers activate their personal cards early in the morning to confirm their interest in employment. The accept proposals for a day/shift and select the most attractive one.
In fact, they are not obliged to work every day. If you cannot work (tired or sick) you can miss a day. People are motivated to earn as much as they will within relatively flexible hours instead of “staying at a workplace for a designated period of time”.
As for relations between stevedores and the HR exchange, the latter sets a sort of a fee for its customers which pay for a possibility to have a required number of workers when it is necessary. These payments make a financial reserve to provide certain amounts to workers who do not have any work proposals (a kind of unemployment compensation, as we would call it). It is also used for insurance/vacation/medicare and other packages.
Economically, it is more efficient for a customer to pay such a fee than to “bear the burden” of a large own staff.
I think in the course of time we will expand outsourcing beyond the human resources. As of today, all the large stevedoring companies at Big Port St. Petersburg own the fleet of 20, 30, 60 and more units of equipment like container tractors, 15-20 servicemen, 3 refuelling operators, 1-2 tallymen, persons for document processing etc. So the mechanization department numbers dozens or even hundreds of people to service those 20, 30, 60 tractors. What for? Isn’t it better to establish a center with 150 tractors and drivers, a unified center for maintenance and repair of specialized equipment to completely cover the demand.
- Unfortunately, outsourcing does not find roots easily in Russia. The entities usually hold a full range of property to guarantee functioning of their businesses.
- That is why the service staff “play dominoes” when there is no work while the employer pays for their time.
About Sea Recruiting Agency
LLC Sea Recruiting Agency is a recruiting company representing the interests of transport logistic, construction and other companies of the North-Western region in the sphere of recruiting, training and provision of temporary personnel. SRA was established in 2001 and is a subsidiary company of OJSC Sea Port of Saint-Petersburg.
Since January 01, 2016 the company has been accredited by the Federal Service on Labour and Employment for performing the activities related to provision of personnel.
The Agency has its own Training Centre with all technical means for primary training, re-qualification and advanced training on the basis of various educational programmes.
Provided by the press center of Sea Port of Saint-Petersburg.