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MARITIME workers pledged to fight for more jobs for women and for increased pay for Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) workers on the “day of the seafarer” today.
RMT delegates at the union’s annual conference in Manchester demonstrated their support for increasing the number of female employees in the shipping industry.
Currently, over a quarter of registered British ratings are women.
But, there is no data to show how many of the non-British workers working in Britain’s shipping industry are women.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said that shipping employers must “seriously tackle” gender inequality in the industry and break with the “prejudiced practices” of the past.
He said: “There is a clear link between the scourge of low pay in our industry, which sees the majority of ratings paid below what would be legally acceptable on land and the under-representation of women in seafaring grades.
“Chronic inequality and pay discrimination are no basis for attracting more women to train and work as seafarers and there is certainly no justification.
“On Day of the Seafarer, RMT calls on the government, as well as the shipping industry’s numerous lobby groups, to acknowledge the link between gender and pay equality and to increase the number of women seafarers in training and employment.”
Delegates also displayed solidarity with workers at the RFA, who are the supply lifeline for the Royal Navy.
Conference delegates launched a “Fair Pay for RFA” campaign to show the national support for the 700 workers, who will begin taking industrial action next week.
The union says that, despite repeated efforts to reach a conclusion to the dispute, RFA management have imposed a 1.5 per cent wage increase.
Workers say this real-terms pay cut is a blow to their living standards, and will begin working only mandatory safety drills and humanitarian relief operations from July 2 onwards.
Mr Cash said: “Staff delivering the supplies lifeline to the Royal Navy have had a derisory pay increase imposed on them which doesn’t even keep pace with the cost of living.
“RMT will not stand by while RFA staff are denied basic pay justice.“
The Day of the Seafarer is commemorated every June 25 by the International Maritime Organisation.
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