UK government changes law to ensure maritime workers receive national minimum wage

Seafarers to be paid national minimum wage

Over 10,000 maritime employees in the UK will receive pay protection and the national minimum wage, following on from a change in the law introduced on 1 October 2020.

Up until this point, the maritime industry was the only sector in the UK that had not been protected by the UK government’s legislation that ensures all employees in the UK must receive the national minimum wage. The new law means that all employees working in this sector will now be paid at least the minimum hourly wage of £8.72.

The government has successfully returned 13,000 seafarers to UK shores who were restricted due to the pandemic and is offering those still working on onboard ships free internet access so they can stay in contact with close friends and family. 

Robert Courts, parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport, said: “This country‚Äôs rich maritime history is built upon its extraordinary workers. Ensuring a fair wage for our seafarers, especially the hundreds of thousands who have kept this country going through the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, means that UK workers are not priced out of jobs by employers.

“This is just the start ‚Äď our Maritime 2050 strategy clearly sets the vision to see a fairer global maritime industry and the UK is determined to lead by example.”

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Mick Cash, general secretary at The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT), added: “This is a welcome development at a tough time for seafarers in the UK and around the world. Entitlement to national minimum wage pay rates on domestic routes puts seafarers on a par with land-based workers and represents a victory for RMT‚Äôs campaigning on seafarers‚Äô rights.

“Enforcement of this improved protection for seafarers is key to it increasing employment for UK ratings across the shipping industry, from the ferries sector to growth areas like offshore wind, decommissioning and coastal freight. “This is a first step in improving seafarers‚Äô rights and RMT remains committed to working with government and regulators in support of successful enforcement of this legislation for seafarers.”