From today (1 October 2020) a change to the law will mean seafarers will receive pay protection equal to every other sector.
Until now, maritime has been the only sector in the UK that does not apply National Minimum Wage protection for workers. This change means that more than 10,000 seafarers across the UK will no longer be undercut, and puts the UK ahead of any other EU state in its protection on pay.
The move further enhances the UK’s maritime sector, which is recognised as having some of the highest standards in the world.
Maritime Minister Robert Courts said:
British seafarers are recognised as some of the most highly skilled worldwide. Buoyed by the highest number of maritime training providers out of any country, mariners can train and qualify on apprenticeships or seafarer training courses at over 25 universities and colleges across the UK.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Workers’ General Secretary Mick Cash said:
Today’s announcement builds on the UK government’s longstanding work to safeguard British maritime workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and follows the successful repatriation of 13,000 seafarers from UK shores whose movement was restricted due to closed borders.
To ensure their swift protection, the UK held the world’s first maritime summit with the UN and secured international recognition for seafarers as key-workers to enable free movement and quicker repatriation for those struggling to get home as a result of the pandemic.
Business Minister Paul Scully said:
To ensure their swift repatriation, the Maritime Minister wrote to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) at the start of the outbreak on 23 March 2020, pressing that all states follow the UK’s work in repatriating workers regardless of their nationality or employment.
To help support their wellbeing here in the UK, working in partnership with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and Seafarers UK, the government is supporting seafarers in UK shores with mobile internet routers (MiFi units) – onboard ships where 100s of seafarers are still waiting to return home – giving them free internet access so that they can stay in contact with friends and family.