7 December 2016
Speaking in today’s Scottish Parliament debate on Sea Fisheries, Labour’s Rural Economy spokesperson, Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant said:
“There is simply no reasonable excuse for the Government to pay those working for Marine Scotland less than the going rate for the job.
"It’s bad for seafarers, it’s bad for their families and communities, and it’s bad for Scotland’s fisheries.
“These jobs are tough, with workers spending weeks at sea away from family.
"They also need experience and expertise.
"Yet Marine Scotland cut their salaries without negotiation.
“While they are putting more pressure on these crews they treat them abysmally, preferring to pay agency staff to fill the gaps rather than reward loyal skilled crew.
“If we are to ensure the future of the industry along with conservation we need crews working with fishermen, rather than inexperienced crew who are working on short term contracts.
“The permanent crew are not there for the money, they could be paid much more elsewhere.
"They have built up an expertise, working with the fishing fleet; they are invested in the industry.
“What we are asking is that they get a fair pay settlement, not a pay cut.
"We need to show them that we value the work they do on our behalf.”
Marine Scotland crew have previously been paid a retention bonus of £5,000 to keep them within the service.
Even with this bonus their salaries were lower than those of other publicly paid seafarers, for instance a chief steward for Marine Scotland earns up to £29,579 a year while at CalMac the same post is paid £37,675.
A Seaman working for Marine Scotland earns up to £25,543, while at CalMac they would earn £32,998.
In the last year Marine Scotland has halved the bonus and could now be removed altogether.