Prospect has long been making the case on behalf of marine professionals in the MCA for pay parity with those doing similar work across both the public sector and the maritime industry. The campaign has been running for more than ten years.
Last year, Prospect’s section committee, the Association of Marine Professionals, drew up a business case for change within the agency. It sought to resolve the staff recruitment and retention crisis with significant increases in pay alongside changes to terms and conditions leading to a more flexible working pattern.
John Ferrett, Prospect negotiator, said: “These reforms seek not only to benefit the staff, but also the agency – improved working hours will enable the MCA to provide better customer service, while ensuring full compliance with Port State Control agreements.”
He described the long-running campaign as “an arduous struggle, involving political lobbying, sustained media campaigning and various forms of industrial action. But thankfully the struggle is finally over, as the powers-that-be have accepted the arguments put forward by the union.”
While the process of gaining government approval has undoubtedly been more drawn out and painful than necessary, members have welcomed the fact that the agency and unions are now free to push ahead with the proposed reforms.
The agency has already confirmed that in April 2017 retention bonuses will be paid to operational surveyors who have remained in post for a year.
Negotiations can now begin to determine what transformation will mean in practice.
Ferrett said: “Prospect recognises that this will by no means be a straightforward process, but we will continue to work closely with the MCA, consulting every step of the way to secure the agency’s future within a reformed survey and inspection regime.”