RMT responds to new UK seafarer statistics

RMT responds to new UK seafarer statistics

31 May 2018

RMT Press Office

SEAFARER union RMT today responded to the Government’s new figures for the number of Ratings and Officers in the UK shipping industry

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“Increases in the number of Ratings are always welcome, although most of the 9,000 plus Ratings jobs created since 2015 have gone to non-UK seafarers.

“The priority remains for the Government to introduce regulations to apply and enforce the National Minimum Wage for seafarers, as they have committed to do. Seafarers, including the record number of UK Ratings in training, need employment and anti-discrimination reforms to improve their chances of getting a job in the maritime industry.

“Brexit is an opportunity to provide the level playing field for UK seafarers to compete for work, which is the only way to repair our maritime skills base."
RMT National Secretary Steve Todd stated:

“Basically, it’s more weak growth for UK Ratings which is not sufficient to avoid a skills deficit by the start of the next decade when thousands of Ratings at work today will retire or leave the industry.

“It’s worth noting that the figures from the Chamber of Shipping confirm that UK Ratings only held 15% of the 65,260 Ratings jobs amongst their members. Most of the growth has been amongst non-EEA seafarer Ratings, who now hold nearly 70% of Ratings jobs at UK Chamber of Shipping companies. This is no way to prepare for a future which sees industry demand for Ratings increasing significantly.

“The Government must work with RMT to force the industry into action which puts employment and training in the UK shipping industry on a more sustainable basis.”


1. These delayed Department for Transport figures cover the year to June 2017 and are based on the results of the UK Chamber of Shipping’s annual survey of its members. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/seafarers-in-the-uk-shipping-industry-2017
2. Between 2016 and 2017 the number of UK Ratings increased by 950 (10.6%) to 9,830. The total number of UK Seafarers (Ratings and Officers) increased 3% to 23,760.
3. According to table SFR0303, between 2015 and 2017, the total number of Ratings in the UK shipping industry increased by 9,030 (16%) to 65,260. Ratings from non-EEA countries accounted for nearly half (4,290) of that increase in employment. Ratings from other EEA countries accounted for 1,640 of those jobs.
4. Non-EEA Ratings are invariably paid below the UK NMW and the RMT’s collectively bargained rates of pay for seafarers. The DfT chaired Legal Working Group on Seafarers and the NMW recommended earlier this year application and enforcement of the NMW for seafarers on UK-UK routes and ‘one port’ voyages from a UK port to offshore energy installations.
5. According to table SFR0302, 53% of total UK Ratings are aged 40 years or over, with that figure rising dramatically amongst deck (73%) and engine (74%) ratings.
6. The Government-commissioned UK Seafarer Projections report from January 2017 has forecast a significant increase in demand for Ratings in the UK shipping industry over the years to 2026.

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Tagged with: Seafarers, Statistics