fighting for its members

fighting for its members


TONY GEORGE - VICE CHAIR - 07901976508

Friday, 23 November 2012

40 years in the RMT.

A Snapshot of the Career of branch member Simon Neal who has just reached 40 years in the RMT.

14th February 1972 Enrolled at the N.S.T.S. in Graves End, Kent, I was 16 years old on the 19th February.
Joined my First ship as Deck Boy in Southampton on the 9th June 72, the Rena Del Mar, Cruse Liner, Owned by Union Castle.
Stayed on there through J.O.S. , S.O.S. and then E.D.H.
Joined the “ Good Hope Castle “ 7th May 75, Southampton.
One trip on the “ Balmoral Castle “ 17th December 77 to 6th January 78.
Joined the “ Table Bay “ 16th January 78, Owned by O.C.L. but Crewed and Managed by Cayzer Irvine & Co. Ltd. By that time I had got in enough Sea time to get my A.Bs Certificate.
Went to Hamburg for Modifications and a Change of Name to “ Zim Barcelona “ , Promoted to Bosuns Mate.
Joined the “ King George “ Bulk Carrier on the 3rd May 80.
Joined the “ King William “ Sister Ship to the George 22nd October 80.
Joined the “ King Alfred “ a smaller Bulk Carrier than the George & William, 7 Hatches instead of 9.
Joined the “ Balmoral Universal “ 19th January 82 for one trip.
Back to the “ King Alfred “ 7th August 82.
Joined the “ Edinburgh Universal “ 16th December 82.
Joined the “ Scottish Eagle “ 5th June 83, Tanker, in the Falkland Islands, we were Anchored off San Carlos Water, Basically Used as a Fuelling Station, R.N. Ships of all Types, Frigates, Destroyers, R.F.As & Subs would refuel from us, we once had 4 R.N. ships alongside us Two from the Old Patrol that was going Home and Two from the New Patrol that had just come down, the R.N. Crew were Transferring Ordinance across our deck from the Old Patrol to the New One. To Join the “ Scottish Eagle “ we flew to Asuncion Islands then a 10 day Ferry trip to the Ship.
Joined the “ Scottish Lion “ 4th July 84, Circumnavigated the World on this Trip.
Joined my First Ferry 11th June 86, Thoresen Car Ferries “ Dragon “ After that Various Ferries, F E 5, Viking Valiant, Viking Trader, Viking Viscount, on the Viscount we did a MOD Charter if Memory Serves it was Code Named “ Purple Warrior “ ,Pride of Hampshire, Pride of Cherbourg, 14th March 90 Promoted to Bosun, Join European Trader, then on to the new “ Pride of Cherbourg “, ex Isle of Innisfree, Pride of Le Havre, Pride of Bilbao and Finally the Pride of York.
And I have Enjoyed it All.
Simon John Neal.
Bosun. Pride of York.

Friday, 9 November 2012

A video of the branch in action in london at the recent march calling for a general strike!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

TUC march

Southampton shipping branch will be marching at the demonstration on Saturday October the 20th in London and asking for a general strike.
The branch will be carrying banners against the various employers that are attacking our members and encourage all members to get in touch if they wish to stand shoulder to shoulder with us on Saturday. Travel will be covered by the branch as well as refreshments.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Condor ferries

Condor ferries - the company bringing shame to the maritime heritage of Portsmouth through social dumping whilst claiming shipping is an international trade!!!
Social dumping was opposed at this years TUC and Condor were named and shamed for their practices towards its employees!!!

Shame on you Condor.

A fairs days pay for a fair days work!!
Condor ferries

Southampton shipping branch was joined by branch members from all over the UK on Saturday morning from as far away as Belfast, Glasgow and Aberdeen in opposition to Condor ferries' treatment of seafarers emplpoyed by Condor Ferries.
Southamnpton shipping branch is calling for an end to exploitation on the ferries between Portsmouth and the channel islands, where staff are paid as little as £2.35 per hour, for a minimum of 12 hours of work per day, 7 days per week for 3 months at a time.
Condor ferries employs Ukrainian seafarers via an employment agency based in Odessa with no comparison to either Ukrainian employment law or the legislation in the UK.
Condor ferries employees recieve:
No Annual leave, even though ukrainian workers receive 24 per year!
No pension contributions, even though ukrainian workers receive employer contributions of 33.2%!
No national minimum wage, even though the national minumum wage in the UK for all workers irrespective of race or nationality is above £6 per hour.
No contracts of employment (3 month fixed term only), so no secure future although in the Ukraine if you work for an employer for 3 months you will have "passed the test" and be given a contract of employment, although this usually happens after 1 month!!
Ukrainian workers must recieve at least 24 hours of rest per 7 days, Condor ferries staff do not recieve a days rest for 3 months!!
The maximum cap on Ukrainian workers hours of work is 40 hours, if they work more than this then they will receive an additional 7 days leave per annum but no worker can work in excess of 4 hours in 48 hours or 120 per annum.......the average working week is 84 hours, and nobody receives leave!!

Condor ferries will argue that that as an employer they can employ who they like, which is fine all we ask is that they are treated with respect, dignity,, decency and equality irrespective of nationality or race and are not exploited in the name of greed.

we want a level playing field for all in the country in which it opearates, if it wishes to employ on the rates of Ukraine, why not charge the fares in comparison to the Ukraine?

The RMT is not going away and will continue to oppose this industrial cancer known as "social dumping" be it at Condor ferries, Condor Logistics or companies that it is associated to via the macquarie group until the Port of portsmouth is restores its maritime heritage and is no longer a port of convenience!!!

Once again thanks for all the support shown this weekend.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

sweatships on the south coast??

Sweatships - a living hell below decks

A cruise ship graciously entering port has become the quintessential image of luxury, but below deck it's a story of apartheid at sea.
Workers from poor countries are suffering conditions reminiscent of Asia's export processing zones.
These are the findings of a new report "Sweatships - What It's Really Like to Work on Board Cruise Ships", joint-produced by campaigning charity War on Want and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF).
It offers a rare insight into a secretive multi-billion dollar industry that took 12 million people on holiday last year with over 700,000 of these from the UK, according to the Cruise Information Service.
Key players in the industry are Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean, P&O Princess Cruises and Malaysia's Star Cruises, which own over half the total number of cruise vessels. The industry is growing at such a rate that 41 extra cruise ships are on order between now and 2005 that will provide 80,000 new berths for pleasure-seekers.
But the fruits of this growth will not benefit those working below deck, as the report shows that as ships get bigger the passenger to crew ration will grow from 2:1 to 3:1 in a bid to cut costs.
The 'Sweatships' report describes how some cruise liners have become a floating hell for thousands of workers. Below deck, hundreds of workers from Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America staff engine rooms, laundries, kitchens and restaurants. Wages can be as low as US$45 per month for waiters and waitresses and contracts are short and insecure.
An ITF survey of 400 cruise ship employees showed that 95 per cent are working seven days a week with time off restricted to turnaround in port. Over a third surveyed worked up to 12 hours a day while just under a third worked up to 14 hours. Holidays are not included during the contract period. Instead, workers return home and wait for two or three months for the next contract.
After interviewing cruise ship workers in Florida and the UK, the report's author Celia Mather believes some cruise companies have a lot to answer for. "Many ships are a floating microcosm of the worst excesses of globalisation. Long hours, poor pay and a culture of fear cast a dark shadow over the five star experience of passengers above deck," she says.
The report goes on to describe widespread authoritarian and aggressive behaviour by managers and supervisors as well as rampant favouritism. Discipline comes in the form of on-the-spot fines or being moved to heavy work where tips are poor.
In more extreme cases can be instant dismissal and repatriation home. One anonymous Carnival employee told researchers: "There's no one to appeal to - they just send you home. You have no chance to go to the company office. They just put you on the plane." The ITF also has cases of crew members being removed from the ship in handcuffs by private security personnel and held in a hotel before being flown home.
The culture of fear that surrounds this hierarchy has led to numerous accusations of sexual harassment against those in authority on board. In 1999, a lawsuit forced Carnival cruises to reveal that a hundred accusations of rape and sexual assault were made in just five years.
Many workers often borrow from family or money-lenders at high interest rates to pay up to US$2,000 in agents fees to secure the job. Despite this, workers rarely abscond de to the secretive and restrictive recruitment process operated by crewing agents in poor countries.
A secret film made in Spring 2001 by the ITF on board the Cypriot-owned Joywave cruise liner revealed the true extent of the horrors for workers. There were only two showers and one working toilet for a hundred men and women crewmembers and staff had to sleep six to each tiny cabin containing only three bunks. Jim Given, director of the ITF's Cruise Ship Campaign said: I thought I'd seen it all, but I've never seen living conditions as bad as these. It was absolutely pathetic - four hundred seafarers with no life in their eyes."
Campaigner Nick Dearden from War on Want said: We are especially concerned about the impact of poor pay and working conditions on those workers from the developing world who often see work on cruise ships as a dream job which can lift their families out of poverty. We are asking people to put pressure on cruise companies to outlaw practices like charging developing world workers deposits just to get their jobs in the first place - a practise which reduces some of the poorest workers on the ship to virtual bonded labourers.
"We believe people booking a holiday want their money to pay for those workers who actually make their holiday possible, not just enriching the increasingly powerful tourist conglomerates that control the industry," said Nick.

branch meeting

The next branch meeting will take place on Friday the 10th of August in the regional oiffice in Southampton.  We have candidates for both the regional organisers position and the preseidents position to decide, the 2 members running for the position of regional organiser Peter Gale (current R.O) and Mick Tosh will be in attendance.
I will also do my best to get the 2 current candidates for the presidents position to attend the branch and address the membership.
This is probably the most important branch meeting for over 5 years and will shape the direction of the regional and leadership going forward.
We also hope to make presentations, hear reports from our reps and plan the future campaigns in our region regarding social dumping.
On the agenda will be changes to employment law and how this effects you as an individual.
Please forward any agenda items at least 1 working day before meeting.

Many thanks.