SOS 2020 campaign - update, future actions and merchandise

Circular No: NP/036/17


Our ref: S1/1/16

9th March 2017

Dear Colleagues

SOS 2020 campaign – update, future actions and merchandise

Further to circular no. NP/230/16 of 3rd October 2016, I write to update members on the first six months of the union’s SOS 2020 maritime campaign, a future Day of Action and details of how to order SOS 2020 t-shirts.

Since the campaign was launched in October, RMT Branches and members have taken a series of actions to highlight its aims, particularly the scourge of sub-NMW pay in the UK shipping industry. These included protests against seafarer exploitation on ro-ro freight vessels in Aberdeen and Rosyth.

Following RMT’s action in Aberdeen port on 4th November, the Scottish Government announced that it was reviewing the charter arrangements for the Seatruck vessels Helliar and Hildasay, chartered by Serco NorthLink on Northern Isles routes, with a view to applying the National Minimum Wage, at least. We continue to campaign for collectively bargained rates of pay agreed with the RMT to be paid to Ratings on all vessels in the Scottish and UK ferry industry but the progress on the Helliar and Hildasay is a significant step. The revised charter agreement for the Helliar and the Hildasay came into effect last week.

The next steps in the campaign include an SOS 2020 Day of Action, Thursday 18th May in Poole, to highlight seafarer exploitation across Europe and to protest against the continued undermining of collective bargaining and employment rights at Condor Ferries, where seafarers are paid below £3 per hour.

The first stage of the Day of Action will be to leaflet delegates attending an event for European Maritime Day 2017 at Poole Lighthouse Arts and Conference Centre, 21 Kingland Rd, Poole BH15 1UG. RMT members and activists are asked to mobilise for this and to arrive at the venue at 8am for leafletting delegates from the UK and European Governments, as well as the UK and European shipping industry.

The second stage of the Day of Action will be a demonstration against low pay and the exploitation of seafarers, outside the head office of Condor Ferries, also in Poole: Condor House, New Harbour Road South, Hamworthy BH15 4AJ.

Further details and campaign materials for the Day of Action in Poole will be circulated in due course. I would urge members of RMT Branches in the Wessex region, in particular to attend. The costs for RMT members from across the country attending this SOS 2020 Day of Action, including accommodation are a legitimate form of Branch expenditure.

Branches can also order direct from Pellacraft, the producer of RMT SOS 2020 t-shirts. The sizes available are L, XL, XXL, XXXL and XXXXL. To order, Branches should contact Kayleigh Kingswood on quoting Order Number 55735.

I would be grateful if you could bring the contents of this circular to the attention of members in your branch and you will be kept updated with further developments.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary