John McDonnell MP Launched the RMT report, Maritime Futures and The Maritime Manifesto on Wednesday 228th January.

RMT Parliamentary Group Convenor John McDonnell MP chaired the launch of the independent report by Cardiff University, Maritime Futures into future jobs and training for UK seafarers, and the RMT Maritime Manifesto which it informs.

The event commenced with speeches from RMT General Secretary Mick Cash; Rt Hon. John Hayes MP (Shipping Minister); Professor Helen Sampson (report author); Gordon Marsden MP (Shadow Shipping Minister); Nautilus General Secretary Mark Dickinson and RMT National Secretary Steve Todd. This was followed by a discussion of the report and the Maritime Manifesto’s proposals for increasing jobs and training for UK seafarers.

The Manifesto stated that the number of UK seafarers working at sea is in potentially terminal decline. In 1982 there were over 30,000 merchant navy ratings in the industry, today there are below 23,000 UK officers and ratings active at sea. Demographics and recruitment rates mean that the UK will suffer from a maritime skills shortage by the beginning of the next decade if this decline is not addressed by Government, with serious consequences for national security, seafarer communities and the national economy.

The RMT represent around 5,000 UK ratings at work in the industry and propose the following policies for adoption by the next Government in order to repair the maritime skills base through the training and employment of the next generation of seafarers:

  1. Equal rights to employment, equality and immigration law for UK seafarers

  2. Enforcement of protections for UK flagged and crewed vessels engaged in island cabotage

  3. Promotion of Government funding for ratings training and apprenticeships

  4. Legislate to keep the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in the public sector

  5. Review the role and responsibilities of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

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