After two years of enforced separation during a global pandemic, Nautilus International was pleased to welcome a good turnout of members for its first hybrid face-to-face and online UK Branch Conference since Covid-19 restrictions lifted.
Up to 70 members and staff attended the Conference and Build Back Fairer Symposium events held on 23 November 2022 at the SS Great Britain museum ship in Bristol's Great Western Dockyard.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson and officials from each of the Union’s departments presented Conference with the UK Branch Report – the UK Committee's extensive snapshot of activities the Union undertook on members' behalf over the past two years. Members can download the full report by logging in to My Nautilus.
The report covers a turbulent timeframe, spanning pandemic-related issues such as the crew change crisis and lack of seatime berths for cadets, through to the recent cost of living crisis; the summary sacking of nearly 800 seafarers by P&O Ferries, and the 'merry-go-round' of maritime ministers in the UK.
Three motions were unanimously adopted following votes by Conference members, endorsing:
- the Union's Fair Ferries campaign to strengthen maritime employment legislation and tackle unscrupulous employers in the wake of the P&O Ferries jobs massacre;
- campaigning for an end to the constant UK windfarm visa waiver extensions called for by the maritime industry as an answer to an unproven labour shortage; and
- to defend the right to strike in the UK, a right which has come under increasing attack in light of the UK government recent plans to restrict union strike action.
Build Back Fairer Symposium
Following the morning's business, members heard from speakers on topics including the need for an equitable transition for seafarers during decarbonisation of the industry at the Nautilus symposium.
The topic was addressed by Michal Rozworski, strategic researcher at the ITF, and Nautilus international organiser Danny McGowan, who will both feature in a future Union podcast episode recorded at the symposium.
Equality and diversity
The day before the Conference, some members also gathered for hybrid meeting of the Union's umbrella Equality and Diversity Forum, which included breakout groups for women members, LGBT+ members and young maritime professionals. The wide ranging topics at the breakout groups covered financial college costs, pensions, fair access for jobs and training in the green shipping future, as well as including a presentation of the TUC manifesto against racism which the Union's general secretary Mark Dickinson has signed.
Members heard about the Union's representation at national level on other UK diversity networks, such as the Speaker Bank and the Pride in Maritime Network run by Maritime UK. The Union is also contributing to a major global project to rewrite women into maritime history led by the Lloyd's Register Foundation.