Vessels sailing into UK ports are paying seafarers as little as £2.40 an hour, Unite delegate Paula Brennan told the TUC today.
Speaking in support of motion on ending the exploitation of seafarers, Brennan said the situation is an “outrage”.
She said, “It is an outrage that as an island nation which is so reliant on shipping that vessels arriving into UK ports are so often little more than floating sweat shops.
“Through my own work at Docks and Ports across the country for Unite and the ITF I have seen the reality first-hand. Take the example of the eastern European ratings sailing into Portsmouth being paid as little as £2.40 per hour.”
Flags of convenience
Brennan said plight of exploited seafarers is “the result of the twin loopholes of ‘flags of convenience’ and so-called ‘low cost’ crewing models – and it’s a story repeated on ships arriving in international ports around our island”.
She added, “In any other industry discriminating workers based on their nationality would be a crime. We wouldn’t accept it in a car plant. We wouldn’t accept it on a construction site.
“We wouldn’t accept it on land. We won’t accept it at sea. Unite joins with the RMT in welcoming Labour’s commitment to implementing the Carter Report.
“Finally – nationality-based – pay discrimination will be outlawed Congress – support this motion. End sweatshop labour at sea. Abolish these Ships of Shame.”