Coronavirus update – fighting for seafarers’ jobs

Circular No: NP/090/20


Our ref: S1/1

22nd April 2020

Dear Colleagues

Coronavirus update – fighting for seafarers’ jobs

Further to Circular no. 062/20 of 19th March 2020, your Union continues to fight against employers seeking to exploit this crisis. We are also fighting for protections that ensure that our seafarers are central to the national recovery when it comes.

The vast majority of RMT seafarers are employed by companies eligible for furlough and we continue to work to make sure that no one slips through the gaps in the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Schemes, particularly where there is a collective bargaining agreement with your Union.

I applaud the work of RMT members across the shipping and ports industries to keep the country supplied and fueled during this terrible pandemic. If your job has been furloughed, RMT is fighting to ensure that all employers meet the 20% of wages not covered by the state and against any proposals for redundancies.

As you know, the industrial situation can change quickly and political pressure is part of your Union’s response. We have produced a template letter for members to send to their MP, asking that they support the RMT’s updated demands for Government action to protect and increase UK seafarer jobs once the Covid-19 crisis lifts and furlough schemes expire. The core demands are:

No compulsory redundancies of UK seafarers, dock or port workers during or after the COVID-19 crisis.
Furlough and cash flow support payments from the UK taxpayer only to shipping companies that state their commitment to long term investment in employment and training for UK seafarers.
Reform of the UK Ship Register and the Red Ensign Group to restore the link with employment for domestic Ratings and Officers.
Increased public funding for training and developing UK Ratings.

We are meeting the Shipping Minister on Monday, along with the other maritime unions and will put these fresh demands to the Government.

A copy of the template letter is attached to this circular and members in all Shipping Branches are requested to use it to contact their MP. A page will be set up on the RMT website for all members to carry out this action and you will be alerted to the web address once that is available.

I would be grateful if you would share this update with maritime members in your branch or region and I will keep you informed of further developments.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary