RMT responds to todays "Maritime Growth Study"

RMT responds to todays

7 September 2015

RMT Press Office

The Maritime Growth Study, led by the shipping, ports and maritime services industries, was asked by the last Government to draw up proposals to reform the UK maritime industry, including seafarer training and UK Flag responsibilities currently held by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash commented: “RMT welcome proposals to increase the rate of training and employment of UK seafarers in the domestic and international shipping industry. Reviewing government support for seafarer training and growing the maritime skills base year on year are sensible, non-controversial ambitions for an island nation, although how the proposed Maritime Skills Investment Fund will sit within this is not clear.

“What is clear is that the overwhelming thrust of the study is for greater deregulation of the maritime industry, including the UK Register which, with curious timing has lost its Chief Executive to a rival register just as a major Government report proposes its part-privatisation. We need more detail on the skills proposals, particularly on employment protections and work permit tests applied to seafarers brought over by shipowners and managers to work in the UK maritime sector, often on wages below the National Minimum Wage which unfairly undercut UK seafarers. This practice has been going on for decades and any serious attempt to increase jobs for UK seafarers will bring that damaging practice to an end.”   

National Secretary of the RMT, Steve Todd, a former seafarer rating, commented: “It is self-evident that major maritime nations like the UK should retain the capacity to operate and maintain a diverse range of shipping, from the general cargo and container ships that service the globalised economy to the revitalised cruise industry. The review of SMarT funding is welcome, and we hope to see this result in the Government meeting a higher percentage of the cost of seafarer training and industry taking up public funding for seafarer training, including ratings training.

“The RMT believe that the Red Ensign will be cheapened by the recommendations for part-privatisation and a second register for ‘larger internationally trading ships.’ It will also be harder for the MCA to carry out its key role as safety regulator for all vessels on the UK flag and international ships in UK ports. This would clearly increase the risk to seafarer and passenger safety, even if the MCA is able to fill the long term vacancies in its inspection team.

“If the UK is to stand any chance of successfully training and employing the next generation of ratings and officers, it must take steps now to reverse the decline in numbers since the 1980s. To do this, employment rights for all seafarers in the UK shipping industry must be protected, particularly in the ferries, offshore supply and cruise sectors, which the previous Government identified as growth areas for UK seafarers’ jobs. Creating a second register is most certainly not the way to do it.”

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Tagged with: Maritime Growth Study