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27 September 2017
RMT Press Office:
Shipping union RMT will be holding an event which will promote the aims and objectives of the union’s national SOS 2020 campaign in Hull this Saturday as follows:
Saturday 30th September, 10am-4pm outside Hull Maritime Museum, Queen Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3DX. A map to the venue is attached and can be downloaded here: https://tinyurl.com/y9zxfg8d
RMT will be using the Hull protest to point out that as an island nation and net importer, our economic, social and security interests depend upon seafarers and a resilient UK maritime skills base.
• 95% of all imported and exported goods in the UK are transported by ship
• Over 496m tonnes of maritime freight handled from ships at UK ports
• Over 22m passengers moved on short sea, continental and international cruise ferries
• The shipping industry directly contributes over £3 billion to UK GDP
• The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is the biggest employer of UK merchant seafarers
The exclusion of seafarers’ from full employment or equality rights, low levels of training and the rise of Flags of Convenience registers, including those in the Red Ensign Group (e.g. the Isle of Man and Bermuda) have driven a decline in UK Ratings and Officers from 58,000 in the 1980s to 23,380 in 2015. Non-UK Ratings continue to be recruited on rates of pay below the legal UK minimum.
This unfair competition blocks UK seafarers’ access to work, damages the maritime skills base and drives down employment standards, training and pay across the industry. And employers routinely avoid paying seafarers their full entitlement even to these low wages – last year an estimated $41m (£31.5m) of earnings were not paid to seafarers working from UK ports.
Since 2011, UK Ratings have fallen by 25% and the total number of UK seafarers decreased by over 13%. The ageing nature of our seafarers means that if training and employment do not increase before then, 2020 will see the retirement of thousands of UK Seafarers, exposing this country to negative economic, social and security effects of a maritime skills deficit.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“RMT is determined that the future of our maritime industry is not ignored and ports like Hull have a huge amount at stake economically and industrially if we allow central Government to continue to allow the decimation of UK shipping.
“As part of our SOS2020 campaign RMT is demanding jobs, training and the end of the race to the bottom on pay and working conditions. Our objective is simple – a guaranteed future for the UK shipping industry based on the development of a skilled and expanded domestic workforce that will secure the economy of areas like Hull well into the future.
National Secretary Steve Todd added:
“RMT will be out in force in Hull on Saturday setting out our objectives for the union’s SOS2020 campaign. For too long our maritime sector has been ravaged by social dumping and the flouting of pay and employment regulations at the expense of UK ratings jobs. That scandal has to end and RMT will be challenging the Government to match their rhetoric about a post-Brexit future for UK shipping with concrete action on jobs, training and working conditions.”