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Press Release

Maritime union fighting for fairness to tackle industry inequality

3 July 2020

Press release

Maritime professionals' union, Nautilus International, has launched a pan-European campaign to tackle the worst inequalities faced by workers in the industry.

Despite the reliance nations have on their maritime industries – with 90% of global trade being moved by sea – workers often experience low pay, discrimination, fatigue, mental health issues and poor workplace conditions, with Nautilus committing to action in order to secure a fair deal for all workers.

The umbrella campaign, launched to mark Seafarers Awareness Week (6-12 July), will work across five key strands:

Combined these strands will promote fairness across pay and working conditions, job opportunities and treatment in the event of an incident at work. The Union will also work to ensure the maritime industry is doing what it can to promote a fair society for the future, including taking advantage of the opportunities digital transformation can bring to jobs.

The campaign plans were given strong backing at Nautilus's 2019 General Meeting, with the Union committed to bringing the industry in line with the vast majority of others.

Nautilus's fair pay campaigning will see it work to ensure as many members as possible are covered by collective bargaining and that the National Minimum Wage covers those working in domestic waters who are not currently protected. It will also fight for an end to low pay, exploitation, abandonment, and owed wages which continue to affect far too many of the world's seafarers, creating a race to the bottom for all.

The Union will also conduct research among members and the wider seafaring community to understand the current standard of living and working conditions onboard, exposing cases where seafarers and maritime professionals are treated unfairly by employer, whilst also sharing best practice to support the mental and physical wellbeing of members at sea. Improvements to connectivity at sea and stamping out bullying and harassment will be of particular focus.

As part of its fair access campaigning, Nautilus will continue to progress equality and diversity to ensure professionals from all backgrounds have the opportunity to access and progress in the industry. With women representing just two per cent of seafarers globally, inclusion will be at the heart of the solution, so nobody is left behind.

The Union will meanwhile continue to campaign for fair treatment in the event of an incident at sea and an end to the worldwide criminalisation of seafarers, after its research found that 90% are worried about the issue within the industry.

Nautilus general secretary, Mark Dickinson, said: 'The seafaring industry is truly unique, and this unfortunately means that sometimes workers find themselves in situations that simply wouldn't happen in the vast majority of other professions.

'Most people expect fairness in all aspects of life – fair pay for fair work, fair treatment from others and fair rules and regulations, but too often this isn't the case for those working at sea.

'That's why we're committed to securing improvements across all aspects of the industry, to protect those currently working within it and to ensure those contemplating a career in the sector are not put off by out-of-date and simply unfair regulations and loopholes.'

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