The UK has been criticised for its unequal labour wages for employees. Many of the foreign seafarers come in from the Philippines and the Far East and often are paid far less than UK seafarers. The issue is quite a delicate subject with many factors coming into play when deciding a seafarers’ wage.
One of the biggest complications that often causes confusion is whether or not the seafarer is getting paid under UK wage standards or if they are paid according to their home wage standards. UK seafarers are protected under Section 40 of the National Minimum Wage Act of 1998, which basically states that seafarers are considered working in the UK if they work in a ship registered in the UK, unless all work takes place outside of the UK or they are not normally a UK resident. Seafarers working on non-UK ships can claim the NMW if they ordinarily work in the UK.
Charles Boyle, director of legal services at Nautilus, said: “It [can] make it difficult, for example, for Filipinos to meet [the conditions set out in NMW law], because they do not ordinarily reside in the UK,” explains Boyle. “After several months on a ship they go back home to the Philippines.”
Another issue is that many UK seafarers are not able to find jobs because it is cheaper to hire seafarers who can take lower wages. The situation is foggy and many lines blur when talking about legal matters. However, for the sake of all seafarers these issues need to be fixed.