Maritime union RMT has called on the UK Government to change its current employment policy to create additional jobs for seafarers, in accordance with the recommendations in a newly published report on shipping industry projections.

Conducted on behalf of the UK’s Department for Transport by Oxford Economics, the report projected significant increases in the country’s shipping industry’s demand for Ratings jobs over the next decade.

Prepared on the basis of recommendations of the maritime growth study that was commissioned in 2014, the new report has also stated that existing recruitment and training practices in the UK could see non-domiciled seafarers supplying a higher number of Ratings working in the country's shipping industry.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This report reinforces RMT’s SOS 2020 campaign for the government to tackle the shipping industry’s pay discrimination and other aggressive employment practices against UK and non-UK seafarers, or risk sacrificing the future of UK seafaring to appease ship owners' and recruitment agencies’ insatiable appetite for profit.

"This report reinforces RMT’s campaign for the government to tackle the shipping industry’s pay discrimination against UK and non-UK seafarers."

“In 2015, UK seafarers only made up a measly 10% of the 87,000 Ratings jobs in the UK shipping industry, and the report predicts big increases to 2026 in UK shipping’s demand for Ratings in all departments of a merchant ship.

“We cannot allow seafarers in the UK, particularly the next generation who we need to replace the thousands of UK Ratings who will retire in the years to 2026, to be denied a higher proportion of these jobs because of the shipping industry’s exploitative and elitist employment policies.”

In addition, the new report on seafarers predicted that by 2026 the UK shipping industry’s demand for non-hospitality and hospitality ratings will increase by 7% and 35% respectively.

Image: A vessel at sea. Photo: courtesy of RMT.