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For those of you not members of the RMT you need to be aware that with regard to the recent SED fiasco one particular seafairers uni0n (Not RMT) is now suggesting that only seafarers should be entitled to claiming SED. This approach would exclude not only energy workers on ships from claiming SED but also the likes of entertainers/croupiers/barstaff on cruise liners would miss out also.

As it is clearly a Uni0n matter the information has been posted in the RMT members area of the Forum for discussion by Uni0n members. If you are not in the RMT you won't see that section.

It is about time we started to get organised and worked together as a team or this one will come back and get you for sure! If you join the RMT you will automatically be given access to the Uni0n discussion area.

Them and us?
This hidden members only board thing is not simply a them and us situation because, as you are no doubt aware, should the Uni0n be running their own Forum, access would only be for uni0n members only. So no surprises there.

If you are not in the RMT and want to see what is starting to happening on that front, then join. If you choose not to join please don't complain about lack of in information on Uni0n activities or a feeling of them and us developing. If we are to work together we need to be joined by a cohesive force of some sort. In this case there is the Uni0n to cover that.

The divers have achieved a lot because of that approach. They now have strength in numbers and annually negotiate conditions and pay as a collective bargaining force. If we are to do the same the Uni0n is the way forward IMHO.
James Mc
Site Admin

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Well done on your effort in trying to unite ROV personnel.

In Australia it's been a long hard road, finally getting the MUA to take over ROV has been the main change. There is nothing easy about what has been achieved and it's taken a lot of personel effort from a small group of people.

Things have certainly improved quite a long way for most companies. Especially the low paying drill support companies. It's moved to a point where company Op's managers are now out bidding each other and listing comparisons. We are even seeing loyalty schemes and overcycle paid for more than 28 days, this is only 10% but it's a start.

I'm pretty sure the MUA "Maritime Uni0n of Australia" and RMT have a relationship from the Diver campaigns. Can I suggest you allow MUA members access to your uni0n area and we may be able to contribute and help each other out.

In Unity Twisted Evil
Maybe we should be reminding all our fellow seafarers that regardless of their specific role that everyone needs to work together to get the boat off the wall to allow us all to be offshore by mid-night.

The loss of the SED motivator for some will impact everyone onboard.

If it is no longer in the specific interest of those with operational control to get the mob completed etc to sail in time then the everyone onboard will certainly be taking a hit !

What a difference a few minutes can make..........
Deadsub wrote:
...........Can I suggest you allow MUA members access to your uni0n area and we may be able to contribute and help each other out.

Thanks for the words of support.

The idea has merit... I only have so many hours in the day... It will be looked into but we need a way to allow access to those proven to be members of the MUA. Any suggestions?
James Mc
Site Admin

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We could probably get the MUA to confirm membership numbers and names supplied by anyone wanting access to your controlled site. Or something like that anyway.
How the 'Seaman' sees it.

The seafarers tax ruling was brought in to help prop up the declining UK's merchant marine industry, by trying to help British officers and ratings compete against low paid (i.e. third world) workers.

With the government tryng to get rid of this exemption you can understand the marine crews trying to keep an allowance that most of them see as theirs. Their view is that it is a seafares allowance and ROV, plough boys, drillers etc are not seafarers and are not competing against guys who will work for a fraction of your salary. It was never designed for the offshore worker etc who is in general paid very much higher than a merchant seaman.

A very high % of marine crews feel like this so don't expect any favours from their side.

Follow the example of the Aussies and divers if you want to make a difference and join a uni0n.
If it is as you say why isn`t it called seamans tax rather than Seafarer`s Tax???
You also define personnel as non seafarers could you give us the definition of a seafarer?? as i was under the understanding that anybody that works on vessel to be a seafarer.
As i believe the "Department of the environment. transport and the regions" do , as they supply all personnel working on vessels with seamans cards and seamans discharge books.

Also i would disagree that merchant navy officer`s aren`t well paid. As you`ll find that DP officers are on almost as much a day rate as rov personnel when going through an agency.
you have to compare like for like. I`.e not comparing junior officer with a senior offshore personnel which seems to happen.
I can understand your piont about AB`s , cooks and alike who are low paid, but i assume well when compared like for like with shore side.
you will also find that there are people willing to work for a fraction of your salary, doesn`t matter what industry you work in at sea.

would that mean when your hired by an offshore company you would not be a seaman.? As 12 hrs work on a vessel of any discipline is 12hrs work on a vessel.

you`ll also find that on most cases project crew will do a lot more days at sea, unless there on a straight 4 on 4 off.

You are preaching to the converted (or sounding off more like). I personally believe that anyone should quilify for SED after 183 days regardles of location, trade, vessel or salary. But in response:-

The previous post was stating how the majority of merchant crews see it (as it said at the top). Ask the marine crew on whatever you are on if they think it is THEIR tax relief or it is for the oil/gas/cable/survey guys too. Where I have been they think its for them.

An earlier post in the discussion stated that 'a seafarers uni0n is suggesting that only seafarers should be entitled' if you had read ALL the posts PROPERLY you would have seen that this was picking up on the point that had already been made and as the RMT reperesents the ratings then it is the one that represents the officers.

To answer your questions:-

I think you will also find that the 'seafareres' uni0n is defining a 'seafarer' as someone with a Merchant Marine certificate issued by the MCA.

DP officers are not carried on the majority of merchant vessels and are therefore a minority within the shipping industry as a whole and Uni0ns go with the majority, (who 'like for like' are paid less).

It not called seamans tax rather than seafareres tax because: The term seafarer covers the whole crew, where as seaman is a specific trade/rank.

My point was to suggest that ROV guys join (or form) a uni0n and present a reason or two why. Maybe you should read it again or get someone to read it to you! Then maybe you can put a bit of effort into suggesting a positive way forward? Idea
I was countering your statement what you have put up to give the opposite view.
I see what you mean seafarers = whole crew i.e all personnel working on board i would say.

Not all offshore personnel are on good salaries try asking fmd tech, CP Tech. or even Junior personnel/surveyers etc.

you`ll also find DP officers on most if not all rov/dive vessels and as these were the vessels that were going to lose the SED that is why i quoted them. As i`m aware it wasn`t all seafarers just the ones working for the oil and gas industry.

I have to agree unions look like they way forward but if you want a suggestion both unions need too talk or it will be counter productive working against each other.
tinchicken wrote:

My point was to suggest that ROV guys join (or form) a uni0n and present a reason or two why.

The suggestion of joining a uni0n is valid although forming yet another uni0n is not the way forward, especially when there is already a uni0n in existence ready and willing to represent ROV and already has branches and staff. It's RMT. There is nobody around that will start a new ROV uni0n (that I am aware off). Even if a new uni0n was started I would doubt it's longer term survival based on what I have experienced in the past. The divers uni0n of the 80's springs to mind.

In the past I have found (from personal experience) the RMT to appear slow to pick up on things and move forward on occasions. I have also heard of people being disappointed with feedback or action from the uni0n. However, my experience with the staff at the OILC branch of the RMT, over the last 6 months, is a totally different kettle of fish. They are a small energetic, proactive, team recruiting and looking for feedback from existing ROV members on what they are looking for by way of an industry agreement for conditions and pay. Momentum is picking up and ROV member numbers are on the increase. The same thing happened years ago on the diver front, it was a very slow start but now look at the result.

I would suggest that anyone looking to join a uni0n to represent ROV they could do us all a favour and join the RMT, specifically requesting to be registered under RMT branch S100 Aberdeen. This is the OILC branch of the RMT dedicated to offshore energy workers.

The people at the OILC branch are already working with us (existing RMT members) as a team to form an ROV agreement based loosely on the divers agreement already in place. The document is already is existence and is work in progress. If you want to be part of this development then join the RMT!

I believe this is a worthwhile project as can be seen by the results achieved by the divers. Your support can help make a difference. The annual uni0n fees are less than a days pay and yet the long term rewards improved conditions will far outweigh the cost.

So now we have the OILC branch of the OILC batting for us. They want branch members, we need a uni0n, they want to form an ROV industry agreement, we need an ROV industry agreement. We need some form of regulation or the major operators will continue to have it all their own way which they clearly do at present. It's not hard to see the way forward is it?

The time to set all this up and get the ball rolling is from a position of strength (as in we are busy right now and they need us) so that when the hard times come.. and they will, there is a solid agreement in place that can be called on to protect the interest of those working offshore by way of day rates, sickness/injury pay, statutory holiday pay, minimum system manning levels, trainee positions, training and travel allowance etc.

Yes I did say statutory holiday pay.. That is in the divers agreement too!

So, when joining please remember to state that you wish to join branch S100 in Aberdeen. Its the OILC branch of the RMT for dedicated to offshore energy workers. Do not let them suggest another general shipping branch as we all need to be under the same branch if only for ease of admin and information dissemination.

If you are already an RMT member you may be assigned to a branch other than S100. It seems that you will need to request that you be transferred to that branch. It would also help if you contact S100 and ask them to assist in your request. It needs you to initiate the transfer.
The more members we have at S100, rather than scattered amongst the other RMT branches, the better. I feel there is no mileage in you being a member of you local branch of they haven't even heard of an ROV!
James Mc
Site Admin

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