NEW guidance from the UK government requires seafarers on ships in UK waters to be paid at least minimum wage rates.
Minimum wage law applies to seafarers when they are working on ships within UK waters and ports regardless of where the ship is registered, or where the worker ordinarily works or lives.
The law also applies on foreign ship for work performed outside the UK if the seafarer ordinarily works in the UK, and on UK-registered ships if some of the seafarer’s work is in the UK and they live in the UK.
UK Border Force patrols will be handing out information to seafarers and employers in more than 50 languages promoting minimum wage law.
Employers that fail to pay at least the minimum wage can face fines of up to 200% the underpayment, public naming and criminal prosecution.
UK business minister Andrew Griffiths said seafarers’ work is vital to key UK industries such as fishing, oil and gas.
“We are determined to ensure they are paid fairly for the work they do, often in challenging conditions,” he said.
“Today we are making it crystal clear that if you work in UK waters you are entitled to at least the minimum wage and all employers – no matter where they’re from – must pay it.
UK Border Force modern slavery maritime lead Rob Meyer said his organisation takes its role of tackling exploitation and protecting vulnerable people seriously.
“We have run a number of maritime operations targeting unscrupulous employers in the sector, and are working with government enforcement agencies to take action against the minority of employers who do not treat their workers in line with UK law,” he said.