SAILORS in UK waters must receive at least minimum wage in a crackdown on exploitation.
UK Border Force is to distribute information on working rights for seafarers in more than 50 languages following reports that those on some vessels registered abroad were getting less than the legal minimum.
Those found to flout the rules can face fines of up to 200 per cent of the underpayment, public naming and shaming and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.
Minimum wage law applies to seafarers working within UK waters and ports, regardless of where in the world they live or where the vessel is registered.
UK Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Seafarers’ work is vital to key UK industries such as fishing, oil and gas.
“We are determined to ensure they are paid fairly for the work they do, often in challenging conditions.
“We are making it crystal clear that if you work in UK waters you are entitled to at least the minimum wage and all employers, no matter where they’re from, must pay it.”
The news follows reports that some overseas crews may be undercutting British teams.
It also comes just days after it emerged that Indian sailors stranded in Aberdeen for more than one year after their ship was detained under shipping regulations have still not received £670,000 in back pay.
Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman, who is the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, has pressed the Foreign Office to help the 24-strong crew of the Malaviya Seven get the wages they are owed.
Although the ship was sold to cover this debt in November, the sailors have not yet received their shares.
The International Transport Workers Federation union is aiding the men, while Blackman said UK officials should contact the Indian Government and Union Bank of India over the matter.
On the minimum wage guidance, UK Border Force’s Rob Meyer, the agency’s lead on modern slavery at sea, said: “Border Force takes its role of tackling exploitation and protecting vulnerable people very seriously.
Source: thenational.scot, 18 January 2018