New powers mandating ferries operating in and out of the UK pay national minimum wage to be brought forward. The ‘Minimum Wage Corridors’ to be explored with like-minded countries to ensure workers are paid an agreed minimum wage.
The Transport Secretary confirmed he will bring forward new legislation to ban ferries which don’t pay their workers the National Minimum Wage from docking at British ports. It means all ferry staff working in and out of British ports and when in UK waters, will earn the National Minimum Wage (NMW), closing a legal loophole between UK and International Maritime Law that P&O Ferries ruthlessly exploited.
The Transport Secretary has instructed ports to refuse entry to ferries not paying workers the NMW from today – immediately replicating the effect the new laws will have when introduced in the coming weeks. Also, HMRC will continue to target their enforcement activity, investigating any ferry operators that they suspect do not pay their workers minimum wage.
The Government has called on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to hold an international summit to discuss workers’ rights at sea and to revise the status quo on seafarers’ basic pay rates around the world.
The Transport Secretary has also written to France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Denmark to propose bilateral agreements which would ensure routes between the countries become ‘Minimum Wage Corridors’, where nationals from either country must be paid an agreed minimum wage. This means that when travelling on the Short Strait, seafarers are paid an agreed minimum wage.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said:
“Ensuring a fair wage for our seafarers means UK workers are not undercut by employers, and it reiterates the UK flag as one of the most respected in the world.”
Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary, said:
“By ensuring ferry staff working in and out of British ports and in UK waters are paid the National Minimum Wage, this new package will protect UK workers from being ruthlessly exploited by employers, while making sure they receive a fair day’s pay.”