Congress expresses sadness and condolences to the families and loved ones of workers killed or injured when working at sea, including the 165 offshore workers and two seafarers who perished in the Piper Alpha disaster thirty years ago, on 6 July 1988.
Congress notes that the Health and Safety Executive regulates compliance with the Offshore Installations Regulations 1989 that cover safety representatives and safety committees and were introduced as a result of the Piper Alpha disaster. Congress is concerned that 26 compliance inspections since 2015 uncovered over 50 non-compliance issues, yet the HSE has not taken enforcement action against any installation owner or manager in the 29 years since these regulations came into effect.
Congress also notes that in the maritime sector safety culture is less developed than many transports sectors, which has contributed to safety incidents in crucial areas such as lifeboat drills.
Congress congratulates the Offshore Coordinating Group comprised of BALPA, GMB, Nautilus International, RMT and UNITE for its continuing efforts to improve safety in the North Sea.
Congress records its concern at the continued evidence of substandard shipping and appalling working conditions for many seafarers working on ships around the UK coast. Congress notes the shocking number of cases involving owed wages and poverty pay, as well as the prevalence of problems such as excessive working time, fatigue, stress, little or no ability to communicate with friends and family, and workplace ill health, injury and fatality rates well in excess of any shore-based occupation.
Congress is further concerned that social dumping, as well as resulting in breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention, is also undermining safety standards in the maritime and offshore sectors.
Congress calls for:
- the government to enforce compliance with elected offshore safety representatives’ standards
- continuous improvement of the safety culture in the maritime and offshore sectors
- a full-scale review of the effectiveness and enforcement of regulations governing worker engagement in safety standards on offshore installations and merchant
Congress calls on the General Council to:
- support the maritime unions in their work to continuously improve the Maritime Labour Convention as an effective global minimum standard to underpin improvements in the lives of seafarers
- ensure that the UK has the necessary staffing, resources and political commitment to police and enforce the requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention
- resist any attempts to dilute UK maritime regulatory standards or for the UK ship register to move to minimum international standards to compete with flags of convenience
- promote the collective voice concept within the maritime industry and to seek to restore the principles of sectoral collective bargaining within the shipping
Mover: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
Seconder: Nautilus International