Thank you to the constituents who have taken the time to contact me about Seafarers' Wages. I want to use this as an opportunity to update you on the work of government to protect Seafarers from exploitative employment practices.
Thanks to the Seafarers’ Wages Act, thousands of seafarers regularly entering UK waters will enjoy better pay protections as the Government continues to boost rights and working conditions while preventing firms from using legal loopholes to pay low wages.
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.
As well as working directly with our trading partners on the establishment of 'minimum wage corridors' for seafarers on direct routes, the UK will pursue worldwide agreements at the International Labour Organisation, pushing for the creation of a common set of principles to support maritime workers, including an international minimum wage, a global framework for maritime training and tools to support seafarer mental health.
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 harbour access to those who continue to fail to comply.
Last year, P&O Ferries shamelessly sacked nearly 800 staff without notice or consultation. The UK Government acted swiftly to progress its 9-point plan in response to this disgraceful behaviour and remains committed to seafarers as a priority, both domestically and internationally.
Our maritime sector is world-leading. That’s down to the thousands of hardworking seafarers working tirelessly to maintain supply chains and transport passengers safely across our waters. Fundamentally, these workers deserve a fair wage and I’m therefore delighted to see the Seafarers’ Wages Act come into force helping improve pay and protect seafarers from exploitation.
I am confident the Government will continue to engage with the UK’s near European neighbours to protect seafarers’ welfare and pay, and explore the creation of minimum wage equivalent corridors in our respective territorial waters.