Government shipping policy

Circular No: NP/262/13


Our ref: S16/10/13

4th October 2013

Dear Colleagues

Government shipping policy 

I am writing to update you on the union’s work in arguing with Government and the shipping industry for maritime policies that arrest the decline and increase the number of UK seafarers, especially ratings, at work and in training.

The union attended a meeting in July organised by the Department for Transport on the Government’s proposed maritime strategy. This was also attended by Nautilus, Chamber of Shipping officials and various representatives of shipping and ports companies. RMT supported measures to protect the UK’s maritime skills base, such as National Minimum Wage application, Equality Act protections against pay discrimination and reform of the Tonnage Tax. The union also expressed concern over the potential impact on jobs from lax Work Permit regulations and European legislation on sulphur emissions from shipping.

Following these discussions the Government published their ‘Shipping Strategic Partnership Plan’. Whilst there are some proposals to protect the maritime skills base, these are undermined by vague, anti-regulation, pro-free market policy proposals which reflect the undemocratic influence of industry lobbyists over the Government’s maritime policy.

A copy of the ‘Shipping Strategic Partnership Plan’ is attached and a copy has been placed on the RMT website. There will be a review of these policies in summer 2014 and RMT members’ views are essential in countering the influence of lobbyists such as Maritime UK in these discussions. I urge seafarer members in particular to look at what the Government is proposing for your industry and to e-mail your comments to the National Policy Department at:

I will continue to keep you updated with the union’s fight against the neo-liberal policies which allow shipping companies to shop around the world for low cost crews to the detriment of all seafarers and the UK’s maritime skills base. I would be grateful if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all members in your Branch.

Yours sincerely

Bob Crow
General Secretary