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Mick Cash

Merchant Navy Day 2017 – Celebrating our history and ensuring a future for merchant seafarers

Ratings union the RMT will join the annual Merchant Navy Day celebrations on 3rd September 2017 by flying the Red Ensign from Regional Office across the UK and from Maritime House in London. As part of this year’s celebrations, at two events in South Shields and Portsmouth on Saturday 2nd September, the union is also promoting positive steps to secure the future for UK seafarers in the merchant marine, with Government commissioned reports published earlier this year forecasting a 20% increase in demand for UK seafarers and recommending increased and clearer funding streams for training the next generation of UK Ratings.

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said:

“In the trade union movement we have a saying: ‘The past we inherit; the future we build.’ Merchant Navy Day chimes with this sentiment, reminding us all of the crucial role our seafarers played in our country’s often turbulent history; what they do today to underpin the national economy; and the importance of retaining maritime skills for the future.

“RMT applauds the Ratings and Officers of today who make the merchant marine work, from the passenger ferry, freight, cruise, offshore supply and container sectors, to the strategically important Royal Fleet Auxiliary. How we maintain and increase UK Rating numbers ahead of reform to the UK’s international trading arrangements is fundamental to the future of the Merchant Navy and we will be taking to the streets in South Shields and Portsmouth over this celebratory weekend to highlight the importance of merchant seafarers to the country’s future.”

Steve Todd, RMT National Secretary said:

“We celebrate Merchant Navy Day along with every other part of this essential industry. In doing so, RMT is seeking to raise public awareness over the role that merchant navy ratings play in our national fortunes, as well as remembering what their predecessors did to defend and maintain the national interest. In 2017, successive Government commissioned reports have set out the opportunities that exist for UK seafarers over the coming decade in terms of increasing the number of jobs and state funding for Ratings training.

“Our seafarers, economy and society will only be able to benefit from these opportunities if there is a level playing field, especially for young people, to compete for merchant seafarer jobs. Otherwise, Merchant Navy Day risks becoming a celebration of our proud history rather than a positive statement of support for a future merchant marine. The encouraging findings of the Government’s Maritime Growth Study provide a basis for restoring UK seafarer numbers and securing that future.”

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