Until now, in the UK, the National Minimum Wage protection did not apply for maritime workers. This change means that more than 10,000 seafarers across the UK will no longer be undercut.
Maritime Minister Robert Courts commented on the occassion:
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
In addition, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said that this is a welcome development at a tough time for seafarers in the UK and around the world. Entitlement to National Minimum Wage pay rates on domestic routes puts seafarers on a par with land based workers and represents a victory for RMT’s campaigning on seafarers’ rights.
The announcement builds on the UK government’s work to protect British maritime workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and follows the repatriation of 13,000 seafarers from UK shores whose movement was restricted due to closed borders.
In order to ensure their 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 highlighted:
The National Minimum Wage has put millions of pounds into the pockets of workers across the UK, and we want to ensure that as many workers as possible are entitled to receive it. This law change will ensure tens of thousands of seafarers in UK waters get paid fairly for their work – bringing the maritime sector in line with every other industry
What is more, to help support their wellbeing in the UK, along with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and Seafarers UK, the UK is supporting seafarers in UK shores with mobile internet routers on board ships.