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TUC Congress: unanimous support for Nautilus motions

11 September 2023

Nautilus International attended the annual gathering of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the UK confederation of trade unions representing five million workers from across all sectors of the economy.

Congress, hosted in Liverpool, unanimously supported Nautilus's two motions.

As the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) observes the 75th anniversary of the 'Flags of Convenience' campaign, Congress backed Nautilus's first motion: 'Tackling Flags of Convenience and Protecting Domestic Shipping'.

This calls for the TUC to work with Nautilus to campaign for the UK government to instigate a global review of ship registration practices. This must be done with a view to enforcing Article 91 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that requires a 'genuine link' between the state and the ship.

The TUC has also been mandated by Congress to work with us to protect the domestic shipping industry and campaign for the UK government to enact cabotage laws. If enacted, Nautilus contends that these laws would ensure retention of skilled maritime professionals and the preservation of maritime knowledge and technology, safeguard fair competition, promote safety, and
bolster national security. The UK is in the small minority of maritime states without any form of cabotage laws.

Congress also backed Nautilus's motion 'Charting a Just Transition for Maritime Professionals' – also the theme for Nautilus International's general meeting taking place in Liverpool from 23-25 October.

We cannot let the transition be the preserve of corporations, governments, shipowners and employers. We must fight for a transition that is 'just' and ‘equitable’ to ensure no one is left behind Nautilus executive officer Martyn Gray

As the maritime industry progresses towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions, it is critical that the voice of seafarers is central to a transition that is timely, democratic, safe, equitable, diverse, funded and thus 'just'.

Nautilus executive officer Martyn Gray addressing the Union's second motion on 'Charting a Just Transition' for seafarers on the route to greener shipping.

The successful motion calls on government to future proof training and skills, secure safety through consulting unions in procurement and design of new vessels, push for international regulation at IMO level for production and implementation of alternative fuels and for the UK government to establish a fund to support those who cannot make the transition like the 'Kolenfonds' in the Netherlands.

Nautilus also amended a motion by the Community union noting the importance of the domestic steel industry as critical to national security. Nautilus's amendment added the importance of supporting the domestic steel industry to build and repair both naval and commercial ships, critical to securing supply chains in the event of geopolitical instability.

The amendment was accepted by Community and the motion was passed by delegates at Congress.

Nautilus continues to play an active role in the TUC to ensure the voice of maritime professionals is at the heart of the workers' movement in the UK.


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