The UK government needs to introduce new regulations to ensure that British seafarers and offshore workers get decent pension arrangements for their retirement years, Nautilus has told the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).
In a response to the DWP's consultation on the application of the auto-enrolment provisions of the Pensions Act to seafarers and offshore workers, the Union warns that the current regulations are excluding large numbers of such employees – leaving them vulnerable to having to rely on the state and charity in their retirement.
Nautilus says the rules need to be tightened, so that all seafarers who are resident in Great Britain and employed on vessels registered in GB are included in the auto-enrolment provisions. Seafarers serving on ships that operate wholly outside GB should also be covered by auto-enrolment if their employment retains sufficiently close links to the country, it adds.
The Union also argues that seafarers serving on ships not registered in GB should be covered by auto-enrolment if their base of employment is in the country.
Changing the rules in this way would ensure that seafarers who are likely to spend their retirement in the UK will have pension entitlements, Nautilus says. It would also end the current anomalies over auto-enrolment coverage and would ensure that employers to not have to undertake complex assessments to determine whether the rules apply to their seagoing staff.
'Nautilus believes that with fairness in mind, and from an administrative perspective, the easiest solution is to maintain that all seafarers and offshore workers ordinarily resident in the UK must be subject to the UK's auto-enrolment pensions legislation,' the Union's submission concludes.
Maintaining the status quo will continue to create uncertainty, defeat the policy purpose of the 2008 Act and without doubt result in further costly and time-consuming litigation.