Reporting pay rates below National Minimum Wage (NMW) to Government Pay & Work Rights Helpline

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Circular No: NP/038/15

 

TO ALL SHIPPING & OFFSHORE BRANCHES, REGIONAL ORGANISERS, REGIONAL COUNCILS, & COUNCIL OF EXECUTIVES

 

Our ref: S1/7

 

6th March 2015

 

Dear Colleagues

 

Reporting pay rates below National Minimum Wage (NMW) to Government Pay & Work Rights Helpline

Further to circular No. NP/073/14 of 2nd April 2014, I am writing to request that RMT Seafarers display in ships’ mess rooms the attached notices, highlighting the Government’s Pay & Rights Helpline. The ITF helpfully provided the translations, Russian and Spanish being the languages most likely to be understood by non-UK seafarers in addition to English.

If any seafarer or other worker is being paid below the NMW (£6.50 per hour for over 21s), they should call the Pay & Work Rights Helpline 0800 917 2368. Calls to this line are confidential and free. The Government NMW Enforcement Team is required to investigate every complaint of non-payment of the NMW that is registered by callers to this line.

At a meeting of the TUC NMW Joint Enforcement Group on 5th March at Congress House, a member of the Government NMW Enforcement Team informed the union that the maritime sector is a priority area but there have been no calls from seafarers to the Pay & Work Rights Helpline to date, so no cases of non-payment of the NMW to seafarers have been investigated.

Avoidance of the NMW is a feature of low cost crewing or social dumping that is rife in the shipping industry, to the detriment of seafarers’ rights and UK seafarer numbers, particularly ratings. The number of UK based ratings fell again in 2014 to 8,420 and has fallen nearly 30% in the last three years.

It is therefore essential for RMT seafarers to alert any seafarers who are paid below the UK NMW to the Pay & Work Rights Helpline. Calls can also be made to the Helpline of behalf of seafarers who are being paid below the NMW but who may not wish to call the confidential phone number themselves.

 

The table below is a snap shot of the exploitative seafarer pay rates on a number of ships working today from and between UK ports:

Operator

Routes

Basic rate of pay (per hour)

Flag of vessel

Seafarer

Nationality

Crew (total ratings)

Condor Ferries

Portsmouth, Poole and Weymouth to Jersey and Guernsey

£2.35

Bahamas

Ukrainian

80

Streamline

(MV Daroja)

Aberdeen-Lerwick;

Aberdeen-Kirkwall

£2.25

Cyprus

Indian & Russian

20

P&O Ferries (Irish Sea)

Larne-Cairnryan; Dublin-Liverpool

£4.70 (passenger) & £3.65 (freight)

Bahamas & Bermudan

Filipino, Latvian, Spanish,

Lithuanian

200

Seatruck

Heysham-Dublin; Liverpool-Dublin; Heysham-Warrenpoint

£3.66

Isle of Man and Bahamas

Polish

30

Seatruck

Ullapool-Stornoway

(Clipper Ranger – chartered by CalMac)

£4.19

Isle of Man

Estonian

10

Seatruck

Aberdeen-Lerwick (MV Helliar & MS Hildasay – Chartered by Serco NorthLink)

£3.66

Isle of Man

Estonian

20

Irish Ferries

Dublin-Holyhead; Rosslare-Pembroke

£5.55

Cyprus, Bahamas & Italy

Estonian & Polish

50

P&O Ferries (North Sea)

Hull-Zebrugge; Hull-Rotterdam

£4.70

Bahamas

Portuguese

300

Stena Line (North Sea)

Harwich-Hook of Holland

£2.39 (freight)

UK

Filipino

60

DFDS

Rosyth – Zeebrugge

(Finlandia Seaways)

£1.64 per hour

Lithuanian

Lithuanian

30

(Source: ITF Inspections and individual contracts of employment)

Estimated total or crew potentially affected: 800

 

Your union continues to campaign for more effective Government action to enforce the NMW, in order to prevent shipping companies recruiting non-UK seafarers on hourly rates as low as £1.64 which drives down pay rates and employment standards across the industry.

The union is also continuing its work through the Equality Act Working Group looking at the effect of the Act on nationality based pay discrimination against seafarers. At the last meeting of the Working Group on 27th January, the Department for Transport official announced that a sub-group would be set up to look at the specific issue of pay. This would include a review of the existing NMW enforcement approach taken for seafarers which has yet to be tested. The sub-group should start its work in June and RMT will have a seat on it.

I would be grateful if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all members in your Branch and you will be kept informed of all further developments in this campaign.

Yours sincerely

 

Mick Cash

General Secretary