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The Seafarers’ Wages Bill would, if passed, ensure seafarers working on ships that use UK ports at least 120 times a year are paid a rate at least equivalent to the UK national minimum wage for their work in UK waters.

For detailed background on the Bill, its content as introduced, and initial stakeholder reaction, please see:

Bill Progress

The Seafarers’ Wages Bill [HL] 2022-23, Bill 184 of the 2022-23 session, had its second reading in the House of Commons on 19 December 2022, and received line-by-line scrutiny at committee stage on 17 January 2023. Its report stage is scheduled for 7 February 2023. The Bill originated in the House of Lords.

The Bill is part of the Government’s response to the sacking of 786 seafarers by P&O Ferries Ltd on 17 March 2022. The Bill’s introduction follows a Government consultation in May-June 2022, and the publication of the Government’s nine-point plan to protect seafarers on 6 July 2022. Further background information can be found in the Commons Library briefing on P&O Ferries: Employment law issues (19 April 2022).

Amendments made in Public Bill Committee

The committee agreed over 40 Government amendments, the vast majority of which were drafting amendments or definitional changes, and four new clauses were added. The main change made by the Government was to turn powers that harbour authorities would hold under the Bill into duties.

No Opposition amendments were made to the Bill. Most Opposition amendments were not formally moved or withdrawn. Five were defeated following divisions.

At both committee stage and second reading, the Bill received cross-party support, although many Opposition members thought it did not go far enough in protecting seafarers’ employment rights.

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