In a letter to the United Kingdom’s Shipping Minister Member of Parliament Kelly Tolhurst, The United Kingdom’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have asked for government intervention regarding the dearth of employment opportunities for British sailors, as well as the crew change incident on Atlantic Container Line’s (ACL) five roll-on-roll-off container ships that are plying transatlantic routes from Liverpool.
ACL had been warned by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) earlier in August for not sending their majority Filipino crew home following the end of their contractual agreements of nine months when docked in Liverpool. Furthermore, sailors on board the ACL fleet are paid below the UK national minimum wage, and have spent more than the maximum amount of time, 11 months, allowed by the Maritime Labour Convention working at sea.
The letter, penned by RMT General Secretary Mick Cash, asks for the government to take action, stated that “one of the key causes of foreign seafarer exploitation and exclusion of UK Ratings is the lack of requirement to employ UK seafarers on the Red Ensign. Indeed, the UK Ship Register continues to present this to shipowners as one of the advantages to registration. This must change, and quickly.
“This tale of the shipping industry co-opting national registers to ride roughshod over seafarers’ rights, UK Ratings jobs and the needs of workers in the port cities and towns of an advanced island economy is all too common. The Government must take the following actions, inside the Maritime Restart and Recovery Group and beyond to tackle these injustices:
• Demand ACL commit to UK Ratings jobs on their UK registered fleet.
• Demand the Port of Liverpool tackle the crew change crisis.
• Introduce UK seafarer employment requirements on the Red Ensign.
• Ban nationality based pay discrimination against non-UK seafarers.
• Train thousands more UK Ratings over the next two years.
“RMT remain committed to the DfT’s Maritime Restart and Recovery Groups but the mess in our maritime industry illustrated at ACL must be sorted out to the benefit of Ratings in the UK and our battered skills base.”
Source: Market Screener