RMT demand Government action to stop shipowner exploitation of seafarers

RMT demand Government action to stop shipowner exploitation of seafarers

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.”


Notes to Editors
1.        The Department for Transport statistical publication  Seafarers in the UK Shipping Industry 2020 was published this morning. Publication was delayed by three months due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
2.        The DfT’s figures are based on data provided by the trade association UK Chamber of Shipping and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. They show a total seafarer workforce in the UK shipping industry of over 86,100, with UK seafarers accounting for 19% of that total.
3.        The figures published today cover the period to June 2020, so do not include P&O Ferries’ jobs cuts which saw over 600 UK Ratings, mainly in Dover and Hull, made redundant. Stena Line, DFDS, Condor Ferries and other shipping companies also cut UK seafarer jobs in the second half of 2020.
4.        RMT organise nearly 4,000 seafarers who work as Ratings, mainly on ferries, offshore energy support and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.
5.        The DfT publication   Seafarers in the UK Shipping Industry 2019 had a total seafarer workforce of 67,170, with UK seafarers making up 25% of that total.

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Tagged with: Seafarers, Shipping, P&O Ferries, DFDS, Stena Line, Condor Ferries, RFA, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Ratings