MNWB responds to new Seafarers’ Charter

Thousands of seafarers are set to be guaranteed fair wages, proper rest periods and suitable training thanks to a new Seafarers’ Charter launched by the UK Government.

Building on government action already taken, the charter – backed by DFDS Ferries, Condor Ferries, Brittany Ferries and Stena – is part of the government’s wider Nine-point plan to protect seafarers and boost employment protections, ensuring they’re paid and treated fairly – irrespective of flag or nationality.

This is part of the UK’s response to P&O Ferries’ decision to fire nearly 800 of its staff without consultation or notice last year.

Responding to the new Seafarers’ Charter, CEO of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) Stuart Rivers commented:

“We are reassured to hear that seafarers will be better protected and supported as part of this nine-point plan.

“Seafarers’ welfare was destroyed by the actions of P&O Ferries to sack hundreds of staff last year – and the industry is still recovering.

“But, while the devil is in the detail on how this plan will work, this is a step in the right direction for long-term progress. As the National Seafarers’ Welfare Board and the umbrella charity for 43 maritime welfare charities, we will continue to champion, protect and enhance the wellbeing of seafarers and fishers across the world.”

The Seafarers’ Charter requires employers to:

  • pay seafarers for overtime at a rate of a least 1.25 times the basic hourly rate
  • ensure adequate training and development is provided
  • provide employees with a full, indefinite contract
  • allow seafarers to receive social security benefits, including sickness benefits, family benefits, and medical care
  • adopt roster patterns considering fatigue, mental health and safety
  • provide adequate rest periods between shifts and rosters
  • carry out regular drug and alcohol testing

Read the full announcement here