Merchant Navy Welfare Board welcomes the UK Government on the fact that The Seafarers’ Wages Act received Royal Assent and is now law.
As a key strand of the government’s 9-point plan for seafarers, the new law is designed to protect those working on vessels operating an international service from being paid less than the National Minimum Wage. According to the government, the 9-point plan for seafarer protections boosts and reforms seafarer employment protections and welfare, ensuring they are paid and treated irrespective of flag or nationality, whilst closing down legal loopholes that could give employers the ability to avoid doing so.
The plan is the center of the government’s response to P&O Ferries’ decision to dismiss 800 seafarers without consultation or notice.
- Changing the law so that seafarers working on ships that regularly use UK ports are paid at least equivalent to the UK National Minimum Wage.
- Asking UK ports to suspend access to ferry operators which do not pay at least the equivalent to the UK National Minimum Wage.
- Working with international partners to collaborate on seafarer protections and welfare, and to explore the creation of minimum wage corridors between our nations.
- Asking HM Revenue and Customs to dedicate UK National Minimum Wage resource to the maritime sector.
- Maritime and Coastguard Agency continuing their robust enforcement policies.
- Developing a statutory code for “fire and rehire” practices and failures to engage in employee consultations.
- Taking action against company leaders who break the law.
- Improving the long-term working conditions of seafarers.
- Encouraging more ships to operate under the UK flag.
According to MNWB, the law change will also require authorities to charge operators of vessels who do not provide evidence they’re paying their seafarers the equivalent to National Minimum Wage and to refuse harbor access to those who continue to fail to comply.
Thousands of seafarers will now have extra security in respect to pay and working conditions following a year of turmoil after the mass sackings made by P&O Ferries. Ensuring seafarers have the highest level of welfare support is imperative – and seeing this legislation given Royal Assent is a big step to achieving that.
…said Stuart Rivers who is Chief Executive of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) in response to the news
Based in Southampton, the MNWB is the umbrella charity for the UK Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleet which provides support and co-operation to seafarers, fishermen and their dependents.
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