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  • Pay going dangerously low...

    Now I know that many jobs are paying more, but I had a curious discussion the other day with a recruitment agency based in the UK (a big one...)


    The grand offering was... £70 a day as OOW. 3 Months on, flexible time off and the day rate is only paid onboard.

    I understand that people are eager to get first stamps etc but doesn't this seem altogether a bit ridiculous? As a watchstander you are working 8 hours MINIMUM. If you want to look at overtime etc I'd say 10 hours a day is about average for an OOW - £7 an hour - below minimum wage...

    Thoughts? I do feel that Nautilus perhaps should be focusing on this sort of issue rather than celebrating the fact that they are piloting a scheme to get RN qualified navigators into the MN...

  • #2
    It's still £2100 per month - assuming it's on a foreign going ship and not taxable, that's substantially more than you would earn on "minimum wage" in the UK.

    The salaries are crap as they haven't kept up with inflation rates/costs of living in the western world. But having said that you'll still earn considerably more than most ashore in the UK. Nautilus won't do a thing as they know ultimately they can't - ship owners and operators will just ditch "expensive" officers. As you go up the ranks it improves but not massively.

    In most of the industry, you are competing with all nationalities, at the end of the day, there is no difference to the shipowner if they employ someone from the UK or Philippines so why should they pay large salaries when they have 1000's willing to work for a lot less.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

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    • #3
      Considering the taxes paid on low salaries are minimal the much lauded 'tax free' seafarer status has little real impact on the final balance in this instance.

      £70 per day for 2/3 of the year (which works out to approximately 243 days - comparable to a full time worker on land?).

      £70 x 243 days = Actual annual income of £17'010 (we can assume this is income tax and NI free for a foreign going seafarer).

      In order for a UK land dweller to earn £17'010 'in the bank' post tax salary in 2018/19 you need to have a pre-tax salary of £20'170 (from which is deducted a small level of income tax of £1662 and NI of £1410).

      Median salary in UK is £28'677 (£22'883 actual earning). So £5873 beneath median.

      Mean salary in UK is £27'600 ( £22'151 actual earning). And £5141 beneath mean.

      Above statement that you will 'still earn considerably more than most ashore in the UK' on proposed income of £70 per day (tax free status) is therefore factually incorrect by a large margin and should be ignored.

      You would need to spend 321 days a year at sea on this wage to reach approximate national average of £22'500 (tax adjusted), which I think most would find unreasonable.


      Majority of the Royal Navy is just the coastguard/fishery patrol now anyway with minimal fleet mostly operating in home waters, most of the 'RN' navigators are likely going to end up in the RFA (due to strong Nautilus membership - hence why they are so keen on it). RFA is not 'Merchant' Navy as they are not trading vessels and are owned, manned and operated by the state (and fly a different flag to the Merchant Navy). RN crossover will therefore have virtually no impact other than in the RFA. Also can't see RN fitting into say Offshore Industry particularly well, would be quite amusing to witness must say.

      Many who work on cruise ships become accustomed to the pyramidical slave wage economy on which they are run and believe this should also apply to a first world country like the UK, as wealthy nation we do not need to have our seafarers treated in this manner on such poor third world level salaries. We are not a peasant nation like many others which now ply the oceans and should instruct our politicians to legislate to provide an acceptable income accordingly - as any civilised and decent country would do.

      There is an increasingly strong argument for protectionism within the UK Merchant Navy to remove the current requirement to compete with the overpopulated third world and engage in the tiresome and seemingly endless global race to the bottom. At what point to things become 'cheap' enough? Is it worth having 50 pairs of $5 shoes and an unemployment rate of 30% and no local industry. At what point does the neo-liberal economic philosophy reach its termination? What is the end goal of all this? 100 pairs of $4 shoes? Something the Western world and our generation probably needs to address at some point, like it or not.

      Many of the large corporate recruitment agencies are nothing short of 21st century suited crimps, would be interesting to see what price they charge the 'client' shipowner for your services each day. In my opinion £70 a day is a poor wage for the job at hand considering the level of training and responsibility, even as a Junior Officer on a dual watch keeper system.

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      • #4
        I’ve never seen anything so low solely being aimed at British people, even motorman and AB positions. I’ve seen plenty of similar salaries being offered to myself because the job is being offered worldwide and the salary is £70 for anyone who wants it... a bad choice for a UK seafarer and a good choice for an Indian seafarer who expects to sail as a fifth officer post-qualification. So I highly doubt the job you saw, even though it’s a UK agency, is actually hoping to secure a British seafarer.

        For those Brits who secure employment post-cadetship, which is the vast majority, they will be looking at day rates of at least £120/day for the lowest level of work such as workboats or AB/MM work.

        Of course, anyone is free to take a vastly inferior £70/day job... but you’d have to hope there is another motivation aside from money that makes them do it!

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