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Fishermens Rights Expanding

The Seafarers (Insolvency, Collective Redundancies and Information and Consultation Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018 have now been published and will come into force on Friday 13th April 2018.  These Regulations will remove a number of preclusions affecting employed share fishermen, thereby extending the following rights:

  • the right to a redundancy payment if dismissed by reason of redundancy
  • the right to a redundancy payment where the share fisherman is otherwise eligible for a redundancy payment if laid off or kept on short-time;
  • the right to claim designated debts (arising from their share fishermen engagement) from the Secretary of State where the “employer” has become insolvent and the share fishing engagement terminated.  This right will also extend to merchant seamen; and
  • the right to be collectively consulted with where the “employer” proposes to dismiss more than 20 individuals within a period of 90 days.

In addition, work is continuing towards the implementation of the ILO Work in Fishing Convention (ILO 188), which sets an international minimum standard regulating living and working conditions on board fishing vessels, into UK Law.

Based on a tripartite agreement which sought to reflect the needs of the fishing industry, the ILO 188 came into force internationally on 16 November 2017, although the UK Government are working towards an implementation target date of May 2018.

The ILO 188 entitles all fishermen, whether or not they are “employed” to:

  • written terms and conditions of employment (a fisherman’s work agreement);
  • decent accommodation and food;
  • medical care;
  • regulated working time;
  • repatriation rights;
  • social protection and health & safety on board;
  • minimum standards relating to recruitment and placement, and
  • medical examination and certification.

The ILO 188 will be implemented in the UK by the MCA.  The Regulations implementing the ILO 188 currently remain in draft following the closure of the public consultation on 12th January 2018.  However, vessel owners and fishermen alike should all be aware of the forthcoming requirements in order to ensure a seamless transition once the Regulations come into force later this year.

For more information, please contact Graham Jones or Nicola Gray, or call 01224 632464.

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