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Poverty pay: RMT transport workers demand government action on £2.25 an hour cruise ship wages

MPs mark Day of the Seafarer with Commons Bill calling for ban on 'ships of shame'

Transport workers demanded government action yesterday to end the scandal of £2.25 an hour pay on ferries and cruise ships.

The RMT union said some of Britain’s best known ferry and cruise holiday companies — including P&O, Condor, Irish Ferries and Stena — were refusing to pay the £6.31 minimum wage on “ships of shame.”

Its research exposed Streamline ferries as the worst offender, paying its Indian and Russian workers as little as £2.25.

And Condor pays its Ukrainian workers just £2.35 and Stena Line just £2.39 to Filipino seafarers.

The exploitation takes place on popular routes including Portsmouth to the Channel Islands, Liverpool to Dublin, Hull to the Netherlands and Aberdeen to the Orkney and Shetland Isles.

To add insult to injury, the disgraceful companies receive £1.5 billion in taxpayer-funded tonnage tax breaks.

Marking the International Maritime Organisation’s Day of the Seafarer yesterday, MPs tabled early day motion 160 which calls for the government to outlaw the practice.

Dover delegate Lee Davison, who works on deck at one of the ferry lines, told the Morning Star that the reason the scandal has not been stamped out sooner is because they employ foreign workers who are less likely to notice the exploitation as the wages just about beat what they would get at home.

“With all the talk about achieving the living wage in Britain, we must put more pressure on the government to end the practice,” he said.

RMT national secretary and former Liverpool merchant seaman Steve Todd warned: “The practice is widespread. It’s important that we fight against it as much as we can.

“It’s impossible to measure how serious it is but I can assure you — it’s getting worse and worse.”

Conference committed to working with its parliamentary group to stamp out the exploitation and poverty pay rates.

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