24 February 2021
RMT Press Office:
SEAFARERS UNION RMT today responded to the latest Government statistics on the number of UK seafarers working in the shipping industry in 2020.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said;
“The shipping industry says it is seeking a level commercial playing field but today’s figures again show that UK seafarers continue to face unfair competition from low cost labour. We must end shipowners’ use of loopholes to exploit overseas seafarers with minimal employment rights on voyage contracts.
“The number of seafarer jobs in the industry actually increased by over 19,000 but the proportion held by UK seafarers fell to 19%. This is no way to prepare for a green economic recovery and these figures do not include the near 1,000 UK Ratings jobs lost in the second half of the pandemic as employers like P&O chose to slash local seafarers’ jobs instead of furloughing these key workers.
“If ‘levelling up’ is more than a mantra, the Government must take action now to train more seafarer apprentices and employ more British Ratings. A failure to do so will see the fall out from the crew change crisis drive down jobs, pay and training opportunities for UK seafarers, especially for younger people in our key port towns and cities.”