Nautilus is hailing a major victory in its Charter for Jobs campaign, after shipping minister John Hayes called on the head of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to conduct a review into Certificates of Equivalent Competency (CEC).
The Union has been running a postcard and social media campaign calling for a review of the CEC system which has seen the number of non-UK resident seafarers with the certification reach 10,550 whilst the number of UK seafarers has by around 4,000 between 2006 and 2016.
MP for East Antrim Sammy Wilson heeded the Union's call, and asked the secretary of state for transport ‘what plans his department has to review the issuing of Certificates of Equivalent Competency to non-UK resident officers in the British merchant shipping industry?’
Despite previously stating that he did not believe the system needed reviewing, Mr Hayes responded that he had ‘asked the chief executive of the MCA to undertake a review of the current arrangements’.
The minister's written response said: ‘The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has a specialist team that checks that any seafarer, who applies for a Certificate of Equivalent Competency to allow them to work on a UK-flagged ship, meets the necessary standards.
‘The MCA continues to engage with stakeholders and social partners, through groups such as the Merchant Navy Training Board, so that the next generation of seafarer can meet the needs of a global industry. I have asked the chief executive of the MCA to undertake a review of the current arrangements.’
Nautilus will now write to chief executive Sir Alan Massey and offer the Union input into the review.
‘This is excellent news for our campaign and for our members, and I am delighted that the minister has responded positively to our call,’ said the Union’s general secretary Mark Dickinson. ‘The system for administering CECs is long overdue for review. We want to see a level playing field for UK-resident seafarers, and an employment landscape that does not create a pool of cheap labour which undermines job security and drives down wages and working conditions. With Brexit approaching, this is increasingly important.
‘We will seek to input into the review as soon as possible, and ensure that the voices of UK seafarers are heard.’
Friday, November 17, 2017