Nautilus has reached agreement with Swiss general union for about 800 members
Nautilus International seafarers’ union has recently announced a further geographical expansion with the forming of a Swiss section. Discussions have also been held on collaboration with the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) which has been talking to RMT – organises UK ratings as well as railwayworkers – and the United Road TransportUnion.
Labour movement sources regard a merger between at least some of these unions as an immediate prospect, although Nautilus is having reservations about a full-scale tie-up.
Seafarers from Switzerland have long had a presence on both deep sea and European river trade services. Nautilus has reached agreement with Swiss general union for about 800 Unia members to make the switch. Nautilus will now incorporate a Swiss branch with a national committee. The hope now is to recruit more widely among Swiss seafarers and boat personnel who
are not currently unionised.
Nautilus is the successor to the old National Union of Marine, Aviation and Shipping Transport Officers, which merged with its Dutch counterpart Federatie van Werknemers in de Zeevaart in 2009. It currently has about 23,000 members. Nautilus general secretary MarkDickinson said: ” The agreement with Unia is a logical step that builds upon our previously stated commitment to continue developing the Nautilus International concept of a transboundary union formaritime professionals working in the most globalised of all industries. Our agreement with Unia is a hugely significant development, because it increases our level of involvement in representing seafarers serving on European Union inlandwaterways,where we are already the largest inland navigation union inwestern Europe,
MrDickinson argued that many of the issues facing seafarers in the inland navigation sector are similar to those facing crews in the international shipping industry, including pay, long working hours, health and safety, training, social security and living and working condition among others.
Crews in the inland navigation sector continue to face such unanswered questions as which labour lawapplies to them. Nautilus International will improve the capacity and ability to deal with these problems
MrDickinson is known to have met TSSA general secretary Gerry Docherty to look into the scope for greater co-operation.