Transport Select Committee report on UK Shipping Strategy

Circular No: NP/071/14


Our ref: S5/7/14

1st April 2014

Dear Colleagues

Transport Select Committee report on UK Shipping Strategy

The cross-party Commons Transport Committee has published its report into the Government’s shipping strategy. The union contributed written and oral evidence to the Committee’s inquiry and their recommendations support some of RMT’s current campaigns in the maritime sector.

The Transport Committee’s main recommendations to the Government are:

•    An explicit Government commitment to address fully the predicted deficit in trained seafarers by 2021.

•    Extend the training commitments in the Tonnage Tax scheme to include UK ratings.
•    Guarantee seafarers’ employment rights on all ships registered under the Red Ensign.
•    Work with trade unions and industry to promote the take up of maritime apprenticeships.
•    Commission an independent review of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) ability to discharge its legal responsibilities, to regulate maritime safety, enforce the Maritime Labour Convention and promote the UK register, when staff and resources are being cut.

Whilst these recommendations, particularly around the Tonnage Tax, are welcome, it is disappointing that the Committee decided not to make specific recommendations around application of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Act 1998, Work Permits and the Equality Act 2010 in the maritime sector which would help arrest and reverse the historic decline in the number of UK seafarers which continued in 2013 when the total dropped a further 5% to 22,830. The number of UK ratings has fallen nearly 30% in two years, to the current level of 8,590.
The union will continue to campaign for enforcement of the NMW and Work Permit regulations on all domestic and intra-EU ferry routes and for the provisions against pay discrimination in Part 5 of the Equality Act to be extended to cover all non-UK seafarers.

A copy of the Transport Committee’s report and the union’s written submission to the inquiry are attached.

I would be grateful if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all members in your Branch.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
Acting General Secretary