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Cruise lines defend treatment of staff. Your thoughts?

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MSC denied allegations that staff were forced to work for up to 16 hours a day, after its ship, the Magnifica, was boarded by officials from the Brazilian Labour Ministry in Salvador, where it had docked for a day.

Some staff had also reported allegations of sexual harassment, according to a report by the BBC.

But MSC Cruises rejected the labour ministry’s claims and said its four ships operating in Brazil had passed intensive and repeated inspections by the ministry. It said it is fully complying with Brazilian and international labour regulations.

Further criticism of the cruise industry however came in the form of a report published this month by academics at Leeds Metropolitan University. It referred to evidence from 2010 that found that the rights of disadvantaged groups were being frequently violated in terms of the work they were given and the salary they were paid, based on their to nationality and cultural background.

It also said that cruise companies had provided little information as to how they were going to implement new regulations brought in by the Maritime Labour Convention last year, which cover the management of recruitment agencies, hours of work and rest and the written confirmation of contractual conditions – aspects of working life that many outside the cruising industry take for granted.

Cruise companies could be doing more to assess environmental issues too, the report suggested, by reporting on their impact on the coastal water and marine ecosystems of the destinations they visit.

But a spokeswoman for CLIA UK defended the industry and said the report was “deeply disappointing” and “seriously flawed”, with “inaccuracies and subjective commentary which fly in the face of the facts of the achievements that the cruise industry delivers throughout the world.”

“The cruise industry is highly regulated on an international basis to exacting standards towards both the environment and labour welfare,” she said. "In both areas we go above and beyond those high thresholds to enable our 21 million annual global customers to enjoy the seas in which they cruise and be cared and looked after by a motivated and content workforce.

"We put great store into our social responsibilities and we make an enormously positive impact on national economies all around the world, to the tune of £31billion a year in Europe. A recent study also shows cruising contributes £60 billion to the global economy, supports more than 775,000 jobs, and pays £20 billion in wages."

A Dispatches news programme attacked the cruise industry over the employment rights of staff in 2012. The documentary focused on the working conditions of staff on board the chip Celebrity Eclipse. It revealed that many of the ship’s staff receive less than half the UK national minimum wage, with some of the lowest-paid workers earning just $600 (£375) per month, the equivalent of around £1.30 an hour, and received no gratuities.

Members of staff claimed they were required to work seven days a week for months on end without rest days, while others alleged that they were forced to pay expensive fees to recruitment agencies to obtain their jobs.

A Celebrity Cruises spokesman said that the Channel 4 programme had been “biased and unbalanced”, however. He added that the cruise line was “committed to our employees, both shipboard and shoreside”, adding that it operated “within the letter of the law”.

By Natalie Paris, The Daily Telegraph

For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html

Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more


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Hmmm. I know they work very hard and I have seen wait staff cleaing up after the 2nd seating and working breakfast the next day. She told she had to be on duty by 0600 and must have been in the MDR until at least 2200. What break she during the day, if any I don't know. I was told that staff sometimes get no shore time in port. I will ask some of them on our upcoming cruise though I think the house keepers seldom get a day off.

Whats even more sad is that despite the grind they make more money doing this than they would at home, especially if they are from countries with depressed economies.

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Interesting article. Labor laws were established in the US not so long ago and they keep evolving and changing. I'm guessing that the cruising industry is going to have to come up with their own set of laws.

I agree that the crew works a bazillion amount of hours and that their pay is small. I agree that most of the crew make much more money on the ship then they would at their home country (if there were jobs for them in their home country). I don't know what the solution is.

I'm guessing the cost of the cruise would go up tremendously if more staff had to be hired to "comply" with US working labor laws. This is a tough one. Glad I don't have to solve it.

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Our Navy people typically work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week while deployed on ships. The pay is better but having worked those long hours myself, I appreciate the cruse ship staff efforts. It was a treat when, after three straight months at sea, we had a BBQ on deck and offered a single can of beer. At least the cruise ship staff has crew bars and the get ashore occasionally.

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