Following sustained pressure from Nautilus and other transport unions, the UK government has officially designated seafarers as key workers.
This means that, during the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, the children of seafarers can continue to attend school or other childcare settings that are now closed to the majority of pupils.
But there may also be other benefits arising from this. For example, the UK government’s decision could be used as ammunition in the fight to get seafarers recognised as key workers internationally and exempt them from pandemic-related travel restrictions that are hindering them from carrying out their essential work.
The UK government’s announcement on the designation of key workers was released online on 19 March 2020. It acknowledges the importance of all who work in the supply chain in the following section:
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Nautilus members who are concerned or are experiencing difficulties related to the coronavirus outbreak are advised to contact their industrial organiser for assistance.