Application of the National Minimum Wage for seafarers

Circular No: NP/065/18


Our Ref: S1/7

5th April 2018

Dear Colleague,

Application of the National Minimum Wage for seafarers

Further to circular NP/216 of 14th December 2017, your union has successfully secured agreement from the Government to extend the NMW to the UK territorial limit and to one-port voyages in the offshore energy sector.

The union noted the following content in the Department for Transport’s ‘Maritime 2050’ consultation document published on 27th March:

"…we are currently working in a number of employment areas that will improve the working conditions and reward of personnel. Among these are actions to:

• extend the National Minimum Wage for seafarers in territorial waters and one port voyages"

This reflects the agreement RMT reached with the Government through the Legal Working Group on the NMW and Seafarers. Nautilus was also party to this agreement.

Your union will now focus on ensuring that the necessary legislative changes are made as quickly as possible to ensure that the NMW is applied and enforced for seafarers on UK-UK routes and on ‘one port’ voyages, which is a route from a UK port to the offshore energy sector and back to the same port in the UK. ‘One port’ voyages include offshore supply, support, survey, accommodation and decommissioning vessels, as well as installation and construction vessels required in the offshore wind industry.

This is an important victory for seafarers’ employment rights and will create fairer conditions in which UK trained Ratings can compete for work. It will also assist in the wider campaign to end nationality-based pay discrimination on international routes to and from UK ports, where the majority of seafarer exploitation takes place, to the detriment of UK seafarers, collective bargaining agreements and maritime skills.

This is also an important milestone in the SOS 2020 campaign and we will step up the fight, using all UK and ITF-level affiliations to introduce Cabotage and other reforms, particularly on UK-Registered and Tonnage tax qualifying ships that will enable seafarer Ratings to work free from exploitation, on rates of pay and terms and conditions reached with the employer through collectively bargained agreements with the RMT. We look forward to that fight with renewed relish and vigour and we applaud the consistent participation and support for the SOS 2020 campaign from RMT members and Branches.

RMT members are encouraged to keep the pressure up on the Government by using this letter to lobby their local MP in support of these changes to NMW entitlement for seafarers and to sign EDM 654

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 updated with further developments.

Yours sincerely


Mick Cash
General Secretary