U.K. Union Protests Offshore Workers' Competition
Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) protested in Aberdeen on Monday, calling for the enforcement of the national minimum wage for seafarers on commercial vessels in the North Sea.
The protest follows admission last month by the Chamber of Shipping that the U.K. Government’s guidance on fair pay would have no effect on the workers. Rather, the guidance was the result of concern over unfair working conditions and low pay on ships that were not flagged in the U.K.
In a two-stage demonstration, the union protested outside the constituency office of Conservative MP for Aberdeen South, Ross Thomson, and outside Oil & Gas UK’s Aberdeen office, demanding that employers in the offshore oil and gas sector work with trade unions to lift existing barriers to employment for offshore workers in Aberdeen, across Scotland and the U.K.
The union says that over 160,000 jobs have gone on installations and across the supply chain in the U.K. North Sea since 2014, and increasing taxpayer support for extracting remaining resources and in decommissioning aging infrastructure must be accompanied by compliance with U.K. employment law and full trade union recognition.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said: “ Our demonstrations in Aberdeen demand a response from the local MP Ross Thomson to the avoidance of the national minimum wage which Aberdeen-based companies are engaging in through their crewing policies on offshore standby and supply vessels. Domestic seafarers cannot and should not have to compete with pay below the legal minimum in offshore supply, offshore renewables and decommissioning.”