21 October 2015
RMT Press Office
RMT Takes Fight for British Seafarers and Offshore Jobs to Heart of Europe.
A delegation from British seafarers’ union RMT will be taking the fight for jobs, safety and pay justice to the very heart of the European Union today.
RMT will be represented by national officials and branch officers at the European Transport Federation’s Seafarers Seminar entitled ‘Ensuring a Future for EU Seafarers’.
The three hour seminar in the European Parliament in Brussels, organised by ETF to present the case to MEPs for more jobs and training for seafarers and unemployed young people living in Europe, will hear the case for an end to the super-exploitation, social-dumping and profiteering which has devastated the shipping industry and shipping jobs in the UK.
It will also hear RMT’s case for an end to the EU regulations which are forcing the tendering and possible privatisation of lifeline ferry services like CalMac in Scotland and of the savage impact that the fall in the oil price is unleashing across our offshore industry.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash stated: “The EU has done very little to protect seafarers from the shipping industry’s relentless cost cutting and undermining of maritime jobs and skills, from Scotland to southern Italy. RMT will be telling MEPs and fellow ETF trade unions that lifeline ferries can and should be exempted from the scope of tendering regulations in the maritime sector. Public sector ferry companies like CalMac must be exempted from the damaging, unnecessary and unpopular EU tendering requirements which play into the hands of private profiteers at the expense of communities, workers and the taxpayer.”
Steve Todd, RMT National Secretary said: “Maritime nations across Europe face the same problems as we do in the UK – an aging workforce and a lack of training and jobs for the next generation whilst shipowners exploit low paid seafarers to crew their flag of convenience vessels on the cheap. We are seeing the destructive impact of these policies in the offshore supply sector at present, where over 1,000 seafarers have lost their jobs since the slump in oil prices and flag of convenience and Norwegian Second Register ships run riot in the North Sea. The root cause is lack of political will to challenge the shipping industry and their sharp suited lobbyists. RMT will use this seminar to demand support from MEPs for pro-seafarer reforms that go beyond the minimum protections in the Maritime Labour Convention to restore properly paid jobs, skills and sanity to the shipping industry.”
RMT Assistant National Secretary, Mark Carden said: “This seminar is a chance to counter the shipping industry’s propaganda and wake MEPs up to the reality of a shipping industry that routinely exploits seafarers and undermines the maritime skills base which is essential to the security and economy of every European country. RMT and ETF affiliates will keep on fighting the operators of ships of shame, like Seatruck and Condor, as well as campaigning for UK pay rates on cargo vessels working the UK coast which currently ignore trade unions to continue profiting off the backs of low paid seafarers to the detriment of the next generation of seafarers.”