25 January 2017
RMT Press Office:
Maritime union RMT demands action as further decline in seafarer numbers revealed in DfT statistics today.
MARITIME UNION RMT, which represents seafarer ratings in the UK, today demanded Government action to halt the continued decline in UK seafarer numbers during 2016, contained in the Department for Transport’s annual Seafarer Statistics published this morning.
Although overall UK Ratings experienced a tiny net increase of 50 (1%) in their number, this masked falls in deck and engine of 8% and 15% respectively. Statistics published in the Seafarer Projection study commissioned by the DfT estimated that there are 87,000 Ratings jobs in the UK shipping industry. UK merchant seafarers only account for just over 10% of that figure.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“Today’s figures demonstrate the deepening crisis facing UK seafarers, a direct result of Government and industry’s failure to offer enough job and training opportunities to young people, particularly in seafaring towns and cities up and down the UK. Earlier this month, the Shipping Minister told MPs that more UK seafarers need to be recruited and trained.
“We now need concrete actions and targets, in addition to the Maritime Growth Study recommendations to increase the training and employment of UK seafarers. These actions must include a timetable for action to end pay discrimination in the UK shipping industry which is the root cause of this decline. This Friday, RMT will be protesting against pay as low as £1.64 per hour on the roll-on roll-off freight link between Rosyth and Zeebrugge. The Government must end these discriminatory practices against seafarers which are damaging to our long term economic and security needs.”
RMT National Secretary, Steve Todd said:
“Whilst there has been a small increase in UK Ratings, there were big declines in deck and engine, again. The UK shipping industry’s recruitment practices of the last decade now see EEA and non-EEA seafarers accounting for 60% of deck, engine and technical and 70% of hospitality Ratings jobs.
“As it stands, it is clear that seafarers in this country will not replace the thousands of UK Ratings expected to retire over the next decade, despite a forecast increase in demand for Ratings in the UK shipping industry to 2026. Ending pay discrimination, enforcing the National Minimum Wage and fast tracking maritime apprenticeships must be enacted by the time the next Seafarer Statistics are released or we will be a maritime nation in decline.”
Notes to editors
1. The annual Seafarer Statistics 2016 are here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/seafarer-statistics-2016
2. The Seafarer Projections were published last week and contain estimates of share by nationality of Ratings jobs in the UK shipping industry in 2015 (pg 44-5) and forecasts to 2026 of supply and demand for Ratings in the UK shipping industry (pg 68-9). https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/maritime-growth-uk-seafarer-projections
3. The Maritime Apprenticeship Trailblazer Working Group was established in 2014. It is employer led and also includes maritime unions and training providers. So far, only a Deck Rating Apprenticeship has been agreed by Government and a delay of over a year in receiving Government agreement continues to block a Maritime Caterer Apprenticeship. Standards for Engine, Electro-technical and On-board Service Ratings are also in development. The Apprenticeship Levy which will fund all Trailblazer Apprenticeships comes into effect in April.