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Improvements needed to Seafarers Wages Bill

It might surprise you, but quite a number of my constituents are seafarers.

Despite the fact that Glasgow East is a small, landlocked, urban constituency, there are many people living locally who are employed to serve aboard marine vessels.

Given this, I have recently received a substantial amount of email correspondence regarding the Seafarers' Wage Bill which is making its way through Parliament.

You will likely recall the P&O scandal earlier this year - the result of the shipping company firing 800 of its shipping staff with immediate effect and replacing them with cheap agency labour.

You might even remember at the time that then Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised that his Government would be taking legal action. What you might not know is that promise was broken when the Insolvency Service quietly dropped the criminal prosecution of P&O Ferries.

This high-profile example demonstrates the urgent need for legal protection and regulation of employment for seafarers.

And while the Seafarers' Wage Bill is not something to be opposed, it lacks many of the provisions that would make it a truly meaningful piece of legislation.

I spoke in the debate yesterday about the need for significant amendment and improvement of the Bill, ensuring the voices of my constituents were heard.

You can view my speech below and read a transcription here.

Ferry image via Flickr by nettans, used under Creative Commons licence.