Vessel owner Gulfmark has vehemently dismissed accusations that it underpaid its seafarers on a ship contracted to Shell in the North Sea.
The RMT trade union alleged that Gulfmark was paying the Filipino workers as little as £2.60 per hour on the North Promise vessel.
A formal complaint has been lodged against the owners of the vessel.
The RMT has raised concerns that poor wages and dismal conditions on supply vessels operating in UK waters, including North Promise, are raising increasing concerns.
Owners deny allegations:
The owners of the Gulfmark have strongly denied the underpaid claims and said it was compliant with the maritime labour convention (MLC).
Gulfmark said the allegation against them was unsubstantiated and said the RMT has been targeting its firm with false claims.
A Gulfmark spokesperson said: “We refute the unsubstantiated allegation of paying any crew members £2.60 an hour. GulfMark are in full compliance with the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, flag state legislation and employment legislation and comply with International Labour Organisation approved rates”.
Workers treated like slaves:
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “We can no longer tolerate the Red Ensign being used as a cloak of respectability for social dumping or the systematic replacement of UK Ratings with seafarers from thousands of miles away who are recruited to work for poverty wages on vessels from UK ports. The crew on the North Promise are not being employed or paid in line with the collective bargaining agreement covering that vessel, which was signed by UK maritime unions, including RMT.”
He further added, “Action must be taken to stop this race to the lowest levels of pay and conditions and to fully enforce the MLC”.
Migrant seafarers worst hit:
RMT national secretary Steve Todd added: “Migrant seafarers on this vessel and across the international shipping industry are treated almost as if they are lucky to receive a wage at all and ultimately that exploitation is getting worse and we are encountering it more and more on vessels, including those flying the Red Ensign in the North Sea oil and gas industry.”
Gulfmark compliant with all standards:
Gulfmark has actively maintained that it follows the standards set forth by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The vessels are regularly audited with certificates of compliance.
Clarification by Shell:
A Shell spokeswoman said: “We work with all suppliers to ensure they meet Shell health and safety standards which includes welfare of staff.”
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Source: Energy Voice