RMT launches shock new report and new Maritime Manifesto

RMT launches shock new report and new Maritime Manifesto

28 January 2015

RMT Press Office

A new independent report from maritime specialists at Cardiff University into UK seafarers has found ineffective enforcement of the National Minimum Wage and a failure to protect UK seafarers and vessels working the coastline from unfair overseas competition, despite the high value of UK seafarers to our society, economy and security. The report is being launched – alongside a Maritime Manifesto (attached) - by maritime union RMT in the House of Commons today.

In order to reverse declining employment and training rates for UK seafarers, the Maritime Futures report makes a number of recommendations, including a different approach to minimum wage enforcement and reserving jobs on specified routes for UK seafarers on UK registered ships.

The report also acknowledges the progress made under the current Government in linking training for ratings to the concessions available to international shipping companies from the Tonnage Tax and the development of ratings apprenticeships.

To build on that progress, the report recommends a mandatory link between Tonnage Tax and ratings training and support for travel and accommodation costs from shore based training for UK ratings.  

UK seafarer numbers which have fallen over 70% in 30 years and the number of ratings has fallen nearly 30% since 2011 to around 8,500. The Government’s latest Seafarer Statistics (for 2014) are due out shortly.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary said:

“The Maritime Futures Report provides clear pointers to where the next Government needs to take action in order to protect seafarers jobs and the Red Ensign from unfair crewing and registration practices adopted by international shipping companies to cut costs at the expense of our national interest. We should no longer tolerate shipping companies flying in low cost seafarers from around the world to work on ships from UK ports for rates of pay as low as £2.25 per hour. The maritime industry needs reform in favour of UK based seafarers, the maritime skills base and the UK register.”

RMT National Secretary Steve Todd added:

“Seafarer exploitation in the UK sector could be rolled back, if the proposals in this report are adopted. The remaining bastions of seafarer employment in the UK are ferries and offshore supply, where low cost crews have gradually been introduced by employers and if this is allowed to continue unchallenged, our island nation will lose the vital capacity to operate and maintain a merchant fleet. Our seafarers are aging and the next generation of seafarers, ratings and officers is not being trained. This report provides Government and the industry with the tools to provide some balance and stability to seafarer recruitment, something which has been missing from the industry for decades but is absolutely essential to our national economic health.”


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