Union backs campaign against social dumping

Nautilus International is supporting a campaign against social dumping in the North Sea offshore oil and gas industry alongside International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)–affiliated unions from Norway, Denmark, France and Germany.

The unions are concerned about the increasing number of flag of convenience (FOC) and ‘national’ registered vessels operating on a regular basis in the North Sea – a trend which has dramatically reduced the number of jobs for seafarers from traditional maritime nations and has allowed companies to exploit seafarers from low-cost labour supplying countries.

‘For decades now, this sector has been exposed to increasingly unfair competition,’ said general secretary Mark Dickinson. ‘The only way to prevent social dumping in the North Sea is to demand Internationally acceptable wage and working conditions for all seafarers onboard vessels operating on the North Sea Continental Shelf, regardless of nationality.

‘The offshore support and supply vessel industry remains a substantial source of training and employment for EU seafarers. It is a sector in which highly trained and specialist skills are essential, yet there is increasing concern that the ageing EU workforce is not being replaced in the quantities necessary for a sustainable future.’

The Union also believes it is vital that countries implement the recommendations of last year’s European Commission task force investigation into seafarer training and employment, which concluded that it would be appropriate to regulate the manning conditions of vessels providing offshore-related services to installations in member states’ territorial waters or economic zones.

‘This campaign by is extremely timely and presents an opportunity for ITF member unions to intensify political pressure on member state governments to ensure that the task force recommendation is progressed in the North Sea,’ concluded Mr Dickinson.

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