Nautilus and RMT demand that Home Secretary Theresa May takes urgent action to clamp down on work permit abuses by ship owners

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The maritime unions, RMT and Nautilus are demanding that Home Secretary Theresa May takes urgent action to clamp down on work permit abuses by ship owners denying British workers jobs while exploiting foreign crew.

They accuse the operator, Streamline Shipping of ‘super exploitation’ of the wholly foreign crew on a Cyprus-flagged cargo vessel, Daroja which operates in the North Sea, transporting goods between Aberdeen and Orkney.

The unions says many local seafarers are unable to find work and argue that the company is failing to comply with work permit regulations in UK waters.

Nautilus contends that the crew members – a mix of Filipino and eastern European nationals – should be covered by work permit requirements, with the employer having to demonstrate that they have satisfied the labour market test by advertising the jobs locally at the domestic rate of pay for such jobs.

Nautilus general secretary, Mark Dickinson said: “Nautilus does not believe that the jobs onboard Daroja were advertised in this way – if they had been, then there certainly would have been locally-based well qualified applicants.’

The unions have requested an urgent investigation by the UK Border Agency and are urging the minister to clarify Home Office policy on the work permit requirements for foreign seafarers working on ships operating in UK waters, as well as the resources given to ensure that the rules are complied with.

‘These are important issues for a maritime nation,’ Mr Dickinson pointed out. ‘We should not allow seafarers serving on ships around our coastline to receive second-class treatment or enable shipping companies to receive an unfair competitive advantage by ignoring the rules.’

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: ‘The abuse of the work permit system in the names of profit and exploitation while denying British seafarers jobs is a scandal and its time for the government to stop spouting hot air and to start taking decisive action.”


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