UK and French governments agree to join forces to improve conditions for seafarers with the new Seafarers’ Charter.
n particular, according to the UK Government, thousands of seafarers will be guaranteed fair wages, proper rest periods and suitable training thanks to a new Seafarers’ Charter launched by the UK government today. The charter will be launched alongside a similar initiative by the French government during a visit by Maritime Minister Baroness Vere to Paris today to meet her counterpart Minister Berville.
The Seafarers’ Charter primarily seeks to support seafarer employment protections and welfare, its provisions align to this intent. It has been developed with input from the maritime industry.
It is primarily aimed at, although not limited to, those vessels in scope of the Seafarers Wages Act. The provisions of the Seafarers’ Charter apply to all those working aboard vessels, at all grades, ranks and roles.
The Seafarers’ Charter requires employers to:
- Pay seafarers for overtime at a rate of a least 1.25 times the basic hourly rate
- Ensure adequate training and development is provided
- Provide employees with a full, indefinite contract
- Allow seafarers to receive social security benefits, including sickness benefits, family benefits, and medical care
- Adopt roster patterns considering fatigue, mental health and safety
- Provide adequate rest periods between shifts and rosters
- Carry out regular drug and alcohol testing
- As well as the Seafarers’ Wages Act and the Charter, strong action has been taken against rogue employers using controversial practices which was revealed in the plans to create a statutory code of practice
The code will make it explicitly clear to employers that they must not use threats of dismissal to pressurise employees into accepting new terms, and they should have honest and open discussions with their employees and representatives.
Today, in Paris, alongside Minister Berville, we strengthen our commitment to protect those working in the Channel and we’ll continue collaborating with our international partners on this vital issue.
… said Maritime Minister Baroness Vere
Building on government action already taken, the charter – backed by DFDS Ferries, Condor Ferries, Brittany Ferries and Stena – is part of the government’s wider Nine-point plan to protect seafarers and boost employment protections, ensuring they’re paid and treated fairly – irrespective of flag or nationality.
Condor Ferries is a proud and responsible employer, dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive and authentic workplace for all staff and crew across our network. We therefore fully support the Seafarers’ Charter being launched by the UK government today.
… said John Napton, CEO, Condor Ferries
This is at the heart of the UK’s response to P&O Ferries’ appalling decision to fire nearly 800 of its staff without consultation or notice last year.
We never forget the importance of seafarers and are proud to be part of the fight to protect their rights, on both sides of the Channel
… said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO
According to a UK Chamber of Shipping spokesperson, this voluntary charter will be another tool in this area alongside the extensive guidelines and best practice the industry has produced in collaboration with unions and other partners over many years.
We have been cooperating with the French and UK authorities on the practical application of the charter and the new laws, and are very pleased to see the actions taken by both authorities, so far.
… added Gemma Griffin MBE, Vice President and Head of Global Crewing, DFDS