Zero hour contracts in the maritime sector

Circular No: NP/004/14




Our ref: S15/8/14


13th January 2014


Dear Colleagues


Zero hour contracts in the maritime sector

I am writing to notify seafarer members of a Government consultation that was launched last month into the use of zero hour contracts.

The union regards the use of zero hour contracts across all transport sectors, including maritime, as unsafe and a direct attack on employment rights. These contracts are not defined in law and employers exploit this ‘flexibility’ to deny workers their basic employment rights.

In the maritime sector, the use of zero hour contracts has increased, particularly amongst ratings grades in the passenger ferry sector. Whilst some employers have given assurances to the union that they intend to reduce the number of seafarers on zero hour contracts, Government action is needed to ensure that this becomes reality and that existing zero hour workers are offered permanent or fixed term contracts of employment with the employer.

The union will be responding to the consultation and it is vital that we have up to date information on the use of zero hour contracts where our seafarer members work. It would be appreciated if Branches and individual members could submit any information on zero hour contracts to by 28th February 2014.

The consultation closes on 14th March 2014 and the relevant documents can be downloaded here: 

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