UK & French Governments Announce Historic Boost To Seafarers’ Rights

Credits: Flavio Gasperini/Unsplash

UK and French governments agree to join forces to improve conditions for seafarers with the new Seafarers’ Charter, reports GOV.UK

In particular, according to the UK Government, thousands of seafarers will be guaranteed fair wages, proper rest periods and suitable training thanks to a new Seafarers’ Charter launched by the UK government today.

The charter will be launched alongside a similar initiative by the French government during a visit by Maritime Minister Baroness Vere to Paris today to meet her counterpart Minister Berville.


The Seafarers’ Charter primarily seeks to support seafarer employment protections and welfare, its provisions align to this intent. It has been developed with input from the maritime industry.

It is primarily aimed at, although not limited to, those vessels in scope of the Seafarers Wages Act. The provisions of the Seafarers’ Charter apply to all those working aboard vessels, at all grades, ranks and roles.

The code will make it explicitly clear to employers that they must not use threats of dismissal to pressurise employees into accepting new terms, and they should have honest and open discussions with their employees and representatives.

Seafarers’ Charter

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
  • As well as the Seafarers’ Wages Act and the Charter, strong action has been taken against rogue employers using controversial practices which was revealed in the plans to create a statutory code of practice​

Download detailed charter here. 

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Source: GOV.UK


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