RMT urges UK government to fulfill seafarer wages ‘pledge’

RMT Union for seafarers and offshore workers protest outside the constituency office of Conservative MP Ross Thomson, Holburn Street, Aberdeen, EARLI
RMT Union for seafarers and offshore workers protest outside the constituency office of Conservative MP Ross Thomson, Holburn Street, Aberdeen, EARLI

Trade union bosses have urged the UK Government act on its pledge to enforce minimum wage payments for seafarers.

RMT said a “significant step” had been taken in its quest to tackle “the scandal of undercutting and below minimum wage rates of pay” in the maritime and offshore sectors.

The union said it had secured a “concrete government commitment” following a campaign which involved protests on the streets of Aberdeen in February.

The demonstration was part of RMT’s Save Our Seafarers campaign.

RMT was outraged by the government’s publication of guidance on seafarers’ pay in January.

It said the guide would have “no impact” and accused several oil and gas operators and vessel contractors of paying seafarers less than the national minimum wage.

The UK Transport Department has now launched a consultation on its “landmark strategy” for securing the future of the country’s maritime sector.

In the document, called Maritime 2050, the department said it was “working in a number of employment areas that will improve the working conditions and reward of personnel”.

It added: “Among these are actions to extend the national minimum wage for seafarers in territorial waters and one port voyages.”

RMT national secretary Steve Todd said: “The government must now stick to this clear commitment to extend the National Minimum Wage for seafarers working in UK territorial waters and on one port voyages to the offshore sector, as campaigned for by RMT members and in our meetings with government.

“RMT will now be stepping up our campaign for swift and effective legislation from the Government to enact this as part of our wider campaign to completely end undercutting and the scourge of nationality based pay discrimination against seafarers and offshore workers.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “We welcome the movement, at last, to apply and enforce National Minimum Wage pay rates for seafarers working between UK ports and from the UK to offshore installations.

“This is a major victory for RMT’s hard working seafarer and offshore members who continue to provide safe and secure services for passengers, businesses, the freight sector and the offshore industry.”

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