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Seafarers' Wages Act cannot stop another P&O Ferries, Nautilus warns

24 March 2023

Nautilus International is warning that the Seafarers' Wages Act, which became law on 23 March, does not provide strong enough protections to prevent other companies from following the shameful example of P&O Ferries.

The Act forms part of the government’s nine-point plan for seafarers, which was conceived in response to P&O Ferries' mass-sacking of 786 UK seafarers in March 2022.

The Union has welcomed the legislation, which aims to ensure maritime professionals working onboard vessels that are regularly docking in UK ports are paid at least the UK minimum wage. However, it says that further action is needed from government to fix the situation.

Nautilus executive officer Martyn Gray said: 'Nautilus International welcomes the passing of the Seafarers' Wages Act. We support the aim of this legislation to ensure ferry workers regularly docking in UK ports are paid at least the UK national minimum wage.

'However, the Seafarers' Wages Act will not, by itself, force a change to P&O Ferries' exploitative crewing model or stop another P&O Ferries from happening again. Government must do more to end the race to the bottom in terms and conditions for ferry workers exacerbated by P&O Ferries. This must start with implementing a mandatory seafarers charter, backed up by bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries, that ensures wages and safe roster patterns reflective of local standards, not international minimums.'


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