Recruitment, Discrimination and Restrictions on Employment
This chapter describes the legal aspects of recruitment by noting that the long-standing rule for seafarers that their employment 'agencies' need licences from the government may eventually become a rule for all persons seeking employment. Qualifications are themselves restrictions, but there are the restrictions which in some ways cut across even the possibility of becoming qualified for employment. The origins of racial discrimination in the shipping industry go back centuries – probably to the beginnings of trade with countries with coloured populations. The General Council of British Shipping, as administrators of the labour supply system, and in its own right as representatives of shipowners, is the main force in recruitment, particularly for ratings. The merchant training navy board lays down the certain minimum standards, but companies frequently superimpose their own requirements which fluctuate according to the labour supply.