17 March 2017
RMT Press Office:
MARITIME UNION RMT will be leafleting delegates at the Scottish National Party conference tomorrow (Sat 18thMarch) at the Aberdeen Arts and Conference Centre from 9:00 a.m. in a bid to highlight the Save Our Seafarers 2020 campaign.
RMT’s SOS2020 campaign aims to stop the race to the bottom in the maritime sector. The collapse in the number of UK seafarers in recent decades, when numbers fell by over 60%, is directly linked to the widespread practice of crewing vessels with non-UK seafarers on pay rates below the UK minimum wage.
RMT welcome the SNP Government’s actions to preserve public ferry operations and to tackle low pay in the shipping industry by:
• Securing the future of public sector operator CalMac, making it a Living Wage employer.
• Applying the National Minimum Wage on Northern Isles vessels chartered from Seatruck.
• Launching a ferries review that could see public contracts removed from EU competition rules.
RMT’s SOS2020 campaign aims to end employment practices in the shipping industry which threaten seafaring jobs and the national maritime skills base. Scotland’s shipping industry sees pay rates as low as £2.56 per hour*, which domestic seafarers cannot and should not have to compete with.
RMT calls on the SNP Government to take the next steps against the shipping industry’s systematic exploitation of migrant workers:
• Nationalise the Northern Isles Ferry Service contract.
• Demand the UK Government’s Legal Working Group extends the National Minimum Wage on all routes from and between ports in Scotland, including North Sea oil and gas installations.
• Support and promote collectively bargained rates of pay in the Scottish shipping industry.
• Ensure that CalMac meets annual targets for training new ratings, to 2024 and beyond.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The SOS 2020 campaign calls for a level commercial playing field which would end the exploitation of migrant workers and provide more jobs and training to the young people we need to attract to the shipping industry over the next three years in order to avert a crippling maritime skills shortage.
“We rely on the sea to transport almost all traded goods and tens of millions of passengers every year, depend on UK merchant seafarers to meet our basic economic and security needs. If we lose that skills base, we will lose control over key economic and strategic decisions.”
* Editor’s Note: As January 2017 on Streamline vessel MV Daroja operating from Aberdeen to the Northern Isles.