UK: Union urges gov’t to address North Sea job crisis

The UK government must take steps to tackle the crisis facing British shipping and seafarers as a consequence of the downturn in the North Sea, general secretary for the trade union Nautilus International, Mark Dickinson, told the union’s UK branch conference on Tuesday.

Opening the meeting in Cardiff, Dickinson said the sector is facing the most severe problems for decades.

“Over the past 12 months, it seems that barely a week has gone by without a North Sea company coming to us to discuss redundancies or cuts in terms and conditions,” he added.

“Whilst the government has responded with some tax breaks and funds to support retraining, ministers have refused to act on the social dumping and unfair competition in the sector which results in the under-cutting of our members’ terms and conditions,” he pointed out.

Presenting the annual report of the Nautilus UK branch, Dickinson told the conference that British shipping is at a critical point — with the Brexit vote presenting opportunities as well as challenges.

“Whether you were in the remain or the leave camp, we all have one thing in common and that is wanting a successful outcome for our industry so that employment and training will follow,” he added.

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