chapter  11
6 Pages


The industry is making progress towards decasualisation by providing more and more benefits for those who make a commitment to the sea as a career. Of course, such a process has economic roots – constant recruitment and training is expensive and time-consuming as well as being intrinsically less safe. The Department of Trade is bound to have two central interests: the rapid movement of goods, and the maintenance of certain safety standards designed to ensure the protection of the industry's capital investment and the goods in question. The disciplinary provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts, for decades the hallmark of the difference between workers on board ships and all others apart from those in the armed forces, are gradually being replaced with the traditional sanction for breach of contract of employment, namely dismissal. Merchant seamen have their own redundancy payments scheme, and the provisions of the social security system have been adapted to fit the peculiar features of seafaring employment.