Nautilus has welcomed a milestone judgement in its long-running battle to ensure that seafarers do not get 'second class' employment rights.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld an earlier Employment Tribunal ruling that it had jurisdiction to hear the Union's case that Seahorse Maritime had failed to carry out its collective consultation obligations with Nautilus when seafarers were being made redundant from ships managed by Sealion on behalf of Toisa.
In seeking a protective award for members losing their jobs, Nautilus had argued that each ship on which members worked was not an 'establishment' under the terms of UK employment law. This was important because most ships had fewer than 20 seafarers onboard, so if each ship was an establishment, the triggering criterion of at least 20 employees would not have been met on many of the ships.
Lawyers for the Union also argued that UK-domiciled Nautilus members were entitled to the protection of UK employment law, even though they worked on ships all over the globe.
In a 38-page judgement, the EAT determined that the employment tribunal was correct to rule in favour of the Union on both these key points. However, the company has been given the go-ahead to appeal against the EAT's rulings.
Charles Boyle, head of Nautilus legal services, commented: 'Although this judgement ruled that the ET will have jurisdiction to hear the Union's claim for a protective award, Seahorse has obtained permission to take the matter to the Court of Appeal, on both the "establishment" and the jurisdictional issues.
'Members will be kept informed of that outcome,' he added. 'However, if this judgement stands, then it represents a very important victory for the Union in overcoming the jurisdictional hurdles which members face in trying to access justice in their home legal system - the problem arising because they work outside the UK.'
If this judgement stands, then it represents a very important victory for the Union in overcoming the jurisdictional hurdles which members face in trying to access justice in their home legal system
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