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Strategic plan

This is the Nautilus International strategic plan for 2023-2027.

Our strategic plan reflects the nature of our membership organisation, and the policy issues to which we are committed between General Meetings. The plan is subject to annual review, with mid-term reports, and it takes account of the views of members  and those of the Union's employees.

Mission statement

Nautilus International is an independent, influential, global trade union
and professional organisation, committed to organising and campaigning
for a future for maritime professionals, delivering high quality services to
members, and maritime welfare support.

Our values

We are the Union for maritime professionals, working for jobs, skills and
the future of our members at local, national and international level.

  1. Professionalism
    We protect and promote respect for our members’ jobs and skills and working environment
  2. Sustainable
    We are an agile and financially viable organisation, secure for
    the future
  3. Quality
    We serve and support the interests of our members to the highest
    professional standards
  4. Collectivism
    We serve, support and empower our members to stand up for their
    rights at work, giving maritime professionals a collective voice
  5. Democratic
    We are led by, and accountable to, our members in all aspects of
    our governance, policies and practices
  6. Global
    We will value, strengthen and develop international relationships
  7. Inclusive
    We treat everyone fairly, equally and with respect, we support
    those underrepresented or vulnerable to discrimination
  8. Welfare
    We support maritime professionals, providing protection for
    members wherever they are in the world and assisting maritime
    professionals in need
  9. Fair Employer
    We set high standards as an employer, providing fair employment,and attractive career development to all our staff
The Nautilus International 2030 Vision

The maritime industry has always been global, driving world trade – and maritime transport will remain central to the global economy in the years ahead. However, it is predicted that the next 10 years will see massive change in the maritime and inland waterways transport sectors.

The industry is in transition towards 'net zero' to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonise. New technologies and automation are constantly evolving. The parameters for all these changes are not fixed but constantly moving.

Global targets for decarbonisation and reduction in greenhouse gases will impact on our members in the maritime industry. A Just Transition to 'net zero' for maritime professionals is essential to ensure that our members continue to have a future.

A changing industry will require new job requirements and different skills and

The digital revolution promises to change how ships are operated and how they are experienced by their crews.

Automation could lead to lower crewing levels but an increase in the demand for shoreside workers with seagoing experience. It is crucial that they still see relevance in the support of a strong professional trade union as they make that transition.

A global shortfall in seagoing maritime professionals has been predicted, while around a third of current serving officers in Europe are set to retire in the next few years.

Recent hardship for seafarers in times of pandemic and war have made visible
the need to close protection gaps in our international conventions.

Jobs security and employment opportunities have always been challenging in a global market. Social dumping and unfair competition, especially in Europe, indicate a clear and present danger to decent work. We must continue to organise in defence of our members’ jobs and career prospects.

Sectors such as offshore renewables and large yachts will continue to mature, and the impact of further automation may lead to job opportunities in as yet undefined areas. New opportunities do exist for our maritime professionals, but we must ensure these opportunities support good quality, sustainable jobs.

Societal views on trade union membership are changing and trade unions must respond and connect with the trade union members of the future. The maritime industry is not immune to these pressures. Nautilus may think it knows what young maritime professionals need and want from a union – for example, do they want protection or are they looking for support and encouragement in career development? Nautilus needs to know. The Union needs to adapt.

Retired seafarers are living longer but many increasingly lack financial security, and several develop long term conditions which limit their independence, including dementia. Nautilus International is focussed and clear about the need to address these changes and adapt to meet the future needs of maritime and shipping professionals.

Nautilus is a leading actor in working towards a Just Transition. We want environmental and technological transition to go hand in hand with good jobs for the future for our members. We want their jobs of the future to be decent, safe, workable, attractive and inclusive.

Nautilus will continue to enhance the services and benefits we provide to our members and the organising activities that we undertake.

In 2009 we launched Nautilus International to be a truly crossboundary trade union and professional organisation for maritime professionals. In the next 10 years we will continue to benefit from being One Union in a global industry. Nautilus will be stronger nationally, regionally and internationally.

Nautilus International will strive to be the trade union and professional organisation that maritime and shipping professionals are proud to be part of, which is regarded as essential to join for all entering the industry and all the sectors the Union organises in.

Our Strategic Priorities
  1. Organise, campaign, and deliver innovative, high-quality, cost-effective services, for our members.
  2. Grow as One Union, be strong, influential, and future proof in all our maritime sectors.
  3. Provide high quality welfare services to necessitous seafarers and their dependants; as well as other maritime professionals.
  4. Ensure our services are accessible to members, wherever they are in the world, whenever they are needed.

Organise and Campaign

  • Collective bargaining and other industrial work
  • Protecting the jobs and livelihood of our members
  • Retention of members
  • Legal protection
  • Individual representation
  • Protecting skills, training, and career development for maritime professionals, specifically in the context of the Just Transition and supporting skills transfers ashore
  • Lobbying for continuous improvement in the social and employment rights of our members
  • Professional and technical expertise
  • Continuous professional development
  • The voice for maritime professionals including in the Just Transition pathway to industry decarbonisation, alongside technological developments and automation
  • Providing career advice and coaching
  • Expertise in the development of international maritime policies
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion,including women, young workers, and LGBT+
  • Solidarity work and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) decent work agenda
  • Continuous improvement and development of member services

Grow and Develop

  • Recruitment of seafarers, maritime workers ashore and all maritime professionals
  • Lay rep and activism work
  • Ensuring financial sustainability and viability
  • Develop digital organising
  • Modernising governance and internal structures
  • Staff development and succession planning
  • Strengthening the One Union, internally and externally
  • Strengthening the Nautilus Federation
  • A passionate collaborator and proactive influencer including in the organisations to which we affiliate e.g. the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) and International Federation of Ship Masters' Associations (IFSMA)

Support and Welfare

  • Nautilus Welfare Fund and wider welfare activities of the Union
  • Ship and workplace visits
  • Support for maritime and shipping professionals
  • Working with other organisations to ensure compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and other employment-related regulations and conventions
Strategic Objectives 2023 to 2027
  • Strengthen recruitment efforts to be the empowering voice of more maritime professionals
  • Build and develop organising activities to engage and empower existing members
  • Drive efficiency through collaboration and partnership
  • Modernise, innovate and embrace technology within the Union's structures,
    governance and operations
  • Develop staff and the Union's facilities
  • Increase influence and enhance our communications
  • Provide high-quality welfare services to necessitous seafarers and their dependants and other maritime professionals
Strengthen recruitment to be the empowering voice of more maritime professionals

We will seek to recruit all maritime and shipping professionals, including trainees, whether maritime, fluvial, or ashore, within our sphere of influence. We will seek to understand where new membership opportunities exist and understand the needs and aspirations of maritime workers as these change.

We will build membership by strategically developing emerging and changing sectors such as fisheries, large yachts, river cruise, and offshore renewable energy.

We will investigate the potential for recruitment in new sectors and undertake research to ensure the union remains attractive to potential new members as well as existing members.

We will improve membership density in established workplacesand those where we have existing Collective Bargaining Agreements(CBAs).

We will develop partnerships with those who share our goals.

Build and develop organising activities to engage and empower existing members

We will empower our lay representatives so that they can better activate, recruit, support and represent members in their workplaces.

We will engage and involve our membership by encouraging them to join and develop committees, forums and networks.

We will deliver the highest quality of service to our members on issues such as employment, pensions, equal opportunities, professional and technical issues, and specifically in the context of the Just Transition.

We will conduct collective bargaining aimed at the priorities identified by our members and secure real improvements over time in members’ pay and overall terms and conditions of employment.

We will consult with our members at every opportunity and ensure that they are fully informed about activities which are conducted on their behalf.

We will work to retain our members by demonstrating the value of Nautilus membership.

We will harness industry principles such as compliance with Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) factors and Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) to demonstrate the growing need for trade union collaboration.

Drive efficiency through collaboration

We will strengthen the Nautilus Federation by cooperating and coordinating with other like-minded maritime unions.

We will maintain and develop the Joint Assistance and Support Network (JASON) within the Nautilus Federation.

We will investigate the potential for collaborating with like-minded organisations to achieve economies of scale and develop new innovative services.

We will develop and grow strategic partnerships focused on enlarging influence and/ or delivery of better value services to our members.

We will influence and encourage the collaboration of other key maritime and shipping stakeholders, seeking to drive equivalences in standards that maintain safety whilst maximising opportunities for all maritime professionals.

Modernise, innovate and embrace technology within the union's structures, governance and work

We will lobby for changes in national laws where necessary to harness the opportunities for digital innovation.

We will further exploit technology and innovation to enhance the governance of the union.

We will seek to establish a new digital platform for membership.

We will improve internal coordination to provide the most effective and efficient service to members.

We will continuously highlight the benefits of membership to all maritime professionals.

We will maintain the financial strength of the union and ensure it is fit for the future.

We will exploit the benefits of technology by maximising the use of existing digital services and platforms.

We will develop online communications and harness the use of the internet for publishing content. We will move towards digital only communications.

Provide high quality welfare services to necessitous seafarers and their dependants

We will work in partnership with maritime charities and organisations, statutory bodies, and other organisations, to identify and meet the welfare needs of seafarers, wider maritime and shipping professionals, former seafarers and their dependants.

Develop staff and facilities

We will continue to develop and train our staff and drive effective succession planning to ensure continued strong, stable and strategic leadership of the organisation.

We will promote secure and fulfilling employment. We will ensure that workforce planning underpins our offer as a good employer.

We will seek innovative ways to ensure the organisation is fit for the future and continuously provides value for money for members.

We will continue to offer a range of flexible working practices which are cost effective, beneficial, and efficient for the organisation, whilst continuing to offer a work life balance to our staff.

Increase influence and communication

We will increase our influence and activism through lobbying and representation on a local, national, and international level to improve the lives of maritime and shipping professionals.

We will be an advocate for those we represent, maintaining and enhancing the international standing of the maritime professional and defending the standards of training and qualifications that underpin the value of our members in the maritime industry.

We will enhance the reputation and image of Nautilus International with members, potential members, external bodies and opinion formers.

We will maintain our influence in all organisations to which we affiliate including ITF, ETF and IFSMA, participating in their structures and supporting the development of policies that serve our members' needs and aspirations. We will ensure that the voice of maritime professionals are represented within the UN system especially at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and ILO.

We will communicate with members on Nautilus activities and inform them about issues of relevance and interest in the wider maritime and shipping sector.

We will raise the profile of the maritime and shipping industry and the work of our members to legislators, relevant external organisations and the public.

We will promote equality, inclusion, and diversity in the maritime industry.

We will undertake strategic campaigns on key issues affecting members.

Our Commitment

This Strategic Plan and the 2030 Vision will be monitored by the Council of Nautilus International with a mid-term review due in 2025. The Council's Report to the General Meeting in 2027 will form the basis of the final review and the Plan and Vision will be reviewed and updated for that General Meeting.

Resolutions arising from the 2023 General Meeting and Branch Conferences in 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027 as appropriate will be attached as annexes to this Plan as they also dictate the work priorities of the Union in the four-year cycle.

Cluster plans will be produced, and they will highlight how each Cluster will ensure that the Union's overall objectives are met.

Approved by the Council, October 2023

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