Dover launch of RMT SOS2020 seafarers’ campaign tomorrow

Associations, HR, Labour Disputes, Manning - Seafarers and Offshore — By on May 10, 2017 at 7:21 AM

Mick Cash

Maritime union RMT will formally launch the Dover element of the on-going “SOS 2020” campaign tomorrow, Thursday 11th May, 6pm at the RMT’s Dover Office, Maritime House, Snargate Street, Dover CT17 9BZ.

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 during the general election campaign and ports like Dover 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 Dover well into the future.

National Secretary Steve Todd added:
“I will be in Dover on Thursday setting out RMT’s 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 candidates for political office to sign up to the union’s campaign.”

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