Nautilus International has welcomed a proposed 'three strikes and out' French law to block low-wage ferry companies from ports.
The law mandates minimum wage requirements for ferries operating on the English Channel and seeks to prevent unsafe tours of duty through a provision that time worked should be equal to time off. The definition of maximum consecutive working period is still to be determined.
'Nautilus welcomes this move by the French government to protect seafarers’ wages and conditions, including safe roster patterns reflective of local standards, not international minimums,' Nautilus International general secretary Mark Dickinson said.
'By working together French and British laws could create a de facto cross-Channel corridor for ferry workers and the companies that employ them – a key component of Grant Shapps's nine-point plan to prevent another P&O Ferries from happening.'
The Proposition de loi visant à lutter contre le dumping social sur le transmanche (Proposed law targeting social dumping on the Channel) received unanimous support in the Assemblée Nationale on 28 March 2023. The French Senate is the next step in the legislative process.
The UK Seafarers' Wages Act 2023 received royal assent on 23 March.
Nautilus has called for the UK government to do more to end the race to the bottom in terms and conditions for ferry workers exacerbated by P&O Ferries, starting with a mandatory seafarers' welfare charter, backed up by bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries.