Sub-NMW seafarer pay rates in the UK shipping industry

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Circular No: NP/216/17

TO ALL BRANCHES & REGIONAL COUNCILS.

Our Ref: S1/7

14th December 2017

Dear Colleague,

Sub-NMW seafarer pay rates in the UK shipping industry

Further to circular NP/089 of 20th June 2017, your union continues to fight the scourge of poverty pay in the domestic shipping industry, a practice which discriminates against foreign and UK seafarers alike, purely in pursuit of profit.

The national SOS2020 campaign has consistently highlighted the evidence provided to the union through ITF inspections earlier this year (see table at the end of this circular) and we will continue to do so in 2018. We will also continue to gather and use any new evidence of shipping companies operating vessels from UK ports with Ratings on board being paid below industry rates of pay reached through collective bargaining with the RMT.

Acting in accordance with the NEC and the aims of the SOS2020 campaign, we have recently pursued the cases of Portuguese and Filipino Ratings employed by crewing agencies in their home countries and hired by P&O to work on the Pride of York between Hull and Zeebrugge and the Pride of Hull between Hull and Rotterdam. Both vessels are registered with the Bahamas, a flag of convenience.

An ITF agreement was previously signed by RMT and our colleagues in the Belgian and Dutch unions which increased pay for exploited Ratings but still meant that the hourly rate was well below the legal minimums in the UK, Belgium or Holland. As a result, we are still faced by a situation in which UK Ratings and Portuguese Ratings doing exactly the same job on the same ship are paid different rates of pay, based purely on nationality.

We can no longer accept a situation where our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is continually undermined by overseas crewing agents and the employment policies of shipping companies like P&O and many others. We have taken the cases of the Pride of York and Pride of Hull to P&O and the Bahamas Maritime Authority, highlighting this unacceptable situation on P&O vessels, covered by RMT CBAs in the North Sea.

We are also pursuing the case of the European Endeavour, another Bahamas registered P&O vessel, operating between Liverpool and Dublin with an RMT CBA for Ratings which is being undermined by crewing agents and P&O’s crewing policies.

To date, we are awaiting meaningful responses from P&O and a full answer from the Bahamas Maritime Authority to all three cases, including our claim that in each case the Maritime Labour Convention is being breached by this unequal and unfair crewing practice.

We have also submitted third-party complaints to HMRC National Minimum Wage Enforcement Team against Portuguese crewing agent Meridianus Limited, for non-payment of the NMW to seafarers on the Pride of York, Pride of Hull and the European Endeavour. Whilst the third-party process remains unreformed, despite Low Pay Commission recommendations to Government to improve its effectiveness, we will continue to use this route as part of our actions against exploitative employers in the shipping industry.

I also remind you that the Legal Working Group on Seafarers and the NMW which the union sits on, had its final meeting in November. The final recommendation to Government on application and enforcement of the NMW for seafarers in the UK shipping industry is awaiting agreement. The recommendation was expected by the end of the year but the UK Chamber of Shipping has chosen to delay this process by writing to the Government to dispute the potential costs involved, something which the employers did not provide persuasive evidence of over the three meetings of the Legal Working Group held this year.

To apply pressure on the Government to take early action on the NMW and seafarers, we have drafted Early Day Motion 654 which has received considerable support from cross party MPs to date. EDM 654 is attached and available here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/654 Please ask your local MP to sign 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 updated with further developments.

Yours sincerely

 

Mick Cash
General Secretary

Examples of Seafarer Ratings pay in UK shipping industry 2017

 

Operator

Vessel & Route

Basic pay

Flag of vessels

Rating

Nationality[1]

Seatruck

Pace, Irish Sea

£3.78 per hour

Cyprus

Polish

Seatruck

Clipper Pennant, Heysham-Warrenpoint

£3.78 p.h.

 

Cyprus

Polish

Seatruck

Power, Irish Sea

£3.78 p.h.

Isle of Man

Polish

Condor Ferries[2]

Portsmouth to Jersey and Guernsey

£2.40 p.h.

Bahamas

Ukrainian

P&O

Norbank, Irish Sea

$3.47 p.h.

Netherlands

Filipino

P&O

Norbay, Irish Sea

$3.47 p.h.

Bermuda

Filipino

P&O

European Endeavour, Irish Sea

£1.75 p.h. (AB grade)

Bahamas

Polish, Latvian, Portuguese

P&O

Pride of York, Hull-Zeebrugge

$4.45 p.h. (AB grade)

Bahamas

Portuguese, Brazilian, Filipino

P&O

Pride of Hull, Hull-Rotterdam

$4.45 p.h.

(AB grade)

Bahamas

Portuguese, Filipino

P&O

European Causeway, Cairnryan-Larne

€5.36 p.h.

Bahamas

Spanish

Streamline

 

MV Daroja -Aberdeen-Lerwick;

Aberdeen-Kirkwall

€3 p.h.

Cyprus

Latvian, Lithuanian

Irish Ferries[3]

Dublin-Holyhead; Rosslare-Pembroke

£5.55 p.h.

Cyprus, Bahamas & Italy

Estonian & Polish

Stena Line

Britannica, Harwich-Hook of Holland

$3.98 p.h. (steward)

UK

Filipino

DFDS

King Seaways, Newcastle – Ijmuiden

$2.63 p.h. (Cabin Steward)

Danish Int’l Ship Register

Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Filipino

Cobelfret

Mazarine, London (Anchorage)-Rotterdam

€4.11 p.h.

Malta

Russian

Cobelfret

MV Wilhelmine, Tilbury-Zeebrugge

£5.30 p.h.

Malta

Ukrainian

 

                                                                                                                                [1] Non-UK nationalities being paid below the UK National Minimum Wage of £7.50 (25 years and over).

2 ITF Inspectors denied access. Information last updated in 2013.

3 ITF Inspectors denied access. Information last updated in 2014.

 



[1] Non-UK nationalities being paid below the UK National Minimum Wage of £7.50 (25 years and over).

[2] ITF Inspectors denied access. Information last updated in 2013.

[3] ITF Inspectors denied access. Information last updated in 2014.