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RMT demand Government action to stop ship owners exploitation of seafarers

SEAFARERS UNION RMT have responded to the latest Government statistics on the number of UK seafarers working in the shipping industry in 2020. RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said:- "The shipping industry says it is seeking a level commercial playing field, but today's figures again show that UK seafarers continue to face unfair competition from low cost labour. We must end shipowners' use of loopholes to exploit overseas seafarers with minimal employment rights on voyage contracts. The number of seafarer jobs in the industry actually increased by over 19,000, but the proportion held by UK seafarers fell to 19%. This is no way to prepare for a green economic recovery and these figures do not include the near 1,000 UK Ratings jobs lost in the 2nd ˝ of the Pandemic as employers like P&O chose to slash local seafarers' jobs instead of furloughing these key workers. If 'levelling up' is more than a mantra, the Government must take action now to train more seafarer apprentices and employ more British Ratings. A failure to do so will see the fall out from the crew change crisis drive down jobs, pay and training opportunities for UK seafarers, especially for younger people in our Key Port Towns and Cities."

Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald is calling on people to support local businesses as they reopen over the next few months

THE Prime Minister yesterday revealed his 'roadmap out of lockdown,' setting out when non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, gyms, attractions and other businesses can reopen. Under Boris Johnson's roadmap shops, hairdressers and pubs can look forward to reopening from 12 April 2021, at the earliest; the same time gyms can get back up and running:- as long as the Covid vaccination programme is continuing to operate well and Coronavirus cases keep falling. Over 17million adults in the UK have already received their vaccines.

Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said:- "The last few months have been incredibly tough for local people and local businesses. We have all had to put our lives on hold in a collective effort to bring down Covid infection rates, to protect our local community and our local NHS, and to save lives. Monday's announcement from the Prime Minister now gives everyone a proposed way out of lockdown and how our economy in Southport can cautiously reopen over the coming weeks and months. When our shops, restaurants, offices, gyms and other businesses do finally reopen, shopping locally and spending locally will be vitally important. Please do all you can to support the excellent businesses we have here in Southport. Many local firms, such as essential shops, are already open, while others are operating online services. Through our Southport BID website and social media sites we will be focusing on driving forward the 'Shop Local' campaign, we will be doing all we can to promote what we have here in Southport. There will be much for people to look forward to. The substantial initiative to provide sparkling new lights along the entire length of Lord Street is nearing completion, which will help to create a lovely ambience for the night time economy in the Town centre. Southport BID has worked closely with Sefton Council to support the Southport Deal submission to the Government. Advance funding of ₤900,000 from the Town Deal, alongside ₤500,000 from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, is currently funding the transformation of Southport Market into an exciting new food, drink and events space, which is due to open this Spring. We recently launched the new Southport Gift Card, which is a great way of supporting local businesses and is already accepted in over 80 shops, restaurants, bars and attractions, in Southport. Our ambition is that all BID businesses will take part in the Gift Card programme. Southport Gift Card makes the perfect present for friends or family you may have missed during lockdown. The future of Southport is in your hands. It is our Town and it is us who have the power to make Southport prosper. Our relationship with our Town is a 2 way street. The Town will give us as much as we put in. Please do all you can to invest in Southport at this crucial time, by spending locally."

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