The UK Government has extended protection to guarantee the national minimum wage for maritime workers
As of 1 October 2020, a change to the law will require merchant ships using UK ports to pay seafarers the statutory minimum rate for the first time. Until now, the maritime sector has been the only sector in the UK that does not apply the national minimum wage protection for workers with trade unions revealing that some merchant ships in UK waters have seen basic rates of pay as low as £1.83 (US$2.37) per hour.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the change means that more than 10,000 seafarers across the UK will no longer be undercut, and added this “puts the UK ahead of any other EU state in its protection on pay.”
Maritime Minister Robert Courts said “Ensuring a fair wage for our seafarers, especially the hundreds of thousands who have kept this country going through the pandemic, means that UK workers are not priced out of jobs by employers.
“This is just the start - our Maritime 2050 strategy clearly sets the vision to see a fairer global maritime industry and the UK is determined to lead by example.”
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) welcomed the change to the law. General Secretary Mick Cash said “This is a welcome development at a tough time for seafarers in the UK and around the world.
"Enforcement of this improved protection for seafarers is key to it increasing employment for UK Ratings across the shipping industry, from the ferry sector to growth areas like offshore wind, decommissioning and coastal freight.
“UK seafarers are now in a better position to compete for these jobs and RMT will be demanding full recognition for all ratings on all merchant ships working on these routes.”
Regarding the high profile seafarer crisis caused by the global pandemic, DfT said more than 13,000 seafarers have been successfully repatriated from UK shores after movement was restricted due to closed borders.
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