UK ‘at risk’ of losing its global maritime reputation

As the countdown to the UK’s planned departure from the EU passes the one year mark, maritime trade union Nautilus International is warning that the nation’s maritime reputation could be at risk if the Government does not ensure essential EU legislation is retained after Brexit.

The Union, with 22,000 members, is seeking the support of political parties and the industry to do more ahead of the departure from the EU, to ensure the all existing health, safety, environmental and employment standards are maintained.

The UK relies on maritime trade for 95% of everything and Nautilus predicts that, unless the government does more to uphold pre-existing rights for seafarers, the nation’s position post-Brexit will suffer, leaving us increasingly dependent on other nations with stronger shipping industries.

The European Union has been responsible for significant employment rights and standards including working time directives, paid leave and other protections. Outside of the EU however, the UK will no longer automatically have the guaranteed protection of these rights, which could threaten the working lives of Britain’s 23,000 seafarers.

To highlight the issue, Nautilus International has released an animation, to highlight its campaign to secure the status of the industry. The animation forms part of the Union’s 10-point charter for jobs campaign, calling on the UK government and maritime industry to do more to deliver decent work and training opportunities for British seafarers.

Almost used and consumed in the UK comes in by sea. Every UK business that imports or exports is heavily reliant on the maritime sector ¬ it is estimated that for every job in the industry, a total of 13 jobs are sustained across the wider UK economy.

To protect the jobs and livelihoods of the nation’s seafarers, the Union is calling on all parties to commit to support British shipping by putting maritime policies at the heart of negotiations with the EU.

Nautilus General Secretary Mark Dickinson (pictured) commented: “Time is running out for negotiations on what the UK’s relationship with the EU will look like post Brexit and the Government needs to place the maritime industry at the heart of these discussions.

“UK seafarers will need support to ensure they have the best chances of securing training, decent jobs and career progression at sea and ashore, both within the UK maritime cluster and beyond. We hope this animation will contribute to raising awareness of just how important the current protections are at such a critical time for the UK. To ensure the nation’s transport and economic security in a post Brexit world, we must protect and maintain a sustainable and well-funded maritime industry which puts jobs for UK-resident seafarers at its core”.

As an island nation, the UK relies on shipping and seafarers for many essential goods including 95% of its total imports and exports. Nautilus is currently campaigning to protect British seafarers with its Ten Point Charter for Jobs to encourage the UK government to deliver decent training and working conditions for those working at sea.