RMT: New Report on UK Seafarer Jobs a Call for Gov’t

Maritime union RMT welcomed a new report on UK seafarer jobs which reveals that existing employment practices in the UK shipping industry need to be changed.

Carried out for the Department for Transport by Oxford Economics, the report says that the existing practices in the UK shipping industry could see more foreign seafarers working in the country over the next decade.

“This report reinforces RMT’s SOS 2020 campaign for the Government to tackle the shipping industry’s pay discrimination and other aggressive employment practices against UK and non-UK seafarers, or risk sacrificing the future for UK seafaring to appease ship owners and recruitment agencies’ insatiable appetite for profit,” Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said.

The report forecasts significant increases in the UK shipping industry’s demand for seafarers to 2026. As of 2015, UK seafarers held around 10% of the 87,000 jobs in the UK.

In addition, the report forecasts that by 2026 the UK shipping industry’s demand for non-hospitality (deck, engine and dual purpose) and hospitality workers will increase by 7% and 35% respectively.

“We cannot allow seafarers in the UK, particularly the next generation who we need to replace the thousands of UK Ratings who will retire in the years to 2026, to be denied a higher proportion of these jobs because of the shipping industry’s exploitative and elitist employment policies,” Steve Todd, RMT National Secretary, added.

According to RMT (the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers), the report presents “the scale of the challenge” to the UK government to prevent its shipping industry from adopting a “business as usual” approach to training and recruitment of the country’s seafarers.

Such action by the government is essential for the future of UK seafarers, the union said.

“RMT is clear that unless nationality based pay discrimination is tackled now, UK seafarers will continue to be excluded from these and existing jobs and the UK will lose the ability to operate a diverse range of merchant shipping,” the union said.

“The Government can act now to increase UK seafaring jobs and training as demand grows over the next decade and nothing should stop them from doing so,” RMT concluded.

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