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Assistant general secretary OLUWOLE TUNDE has worked for Nautilus International for over 12 years, overseeing activities in finance, human resources and IT. As part of our occasional series profiling the Union's senior management team, he explains what he is doing to make the future brighter for members…
As the person whose responsibilities include the ﬁnances at Nautilus, I am probably not always the most popular person at the Union! However, part of my job is to ensure that departments and activities have the right resources to fulﬁl their objectives. We are continuing to work on a number of developments, all of which we feel will improve the lives of our members and also make a contribution to the wider maritime community.
With a keen eye on the money, I am pleased to say we are working towards ﬁnalising the introduction of the proposed Nautilus Credit Union, which will operate as a bank for members and their families. It has been a long process but - subject to Bank of England approval - when the Credit Union is launched, it will provide an alternative to high street banks and payday loans, whilst also having the ambition to help our members with the cost of continuing professional development.
The ﬁnances of our members are highly important to us, and we feel the proposed Credit Union, in addition to our ongoing work on pensions as part of our campaigning and negotiating work, will help offer members the security that is often missing from a life working at sea.
Saving for the future is also important in respect of retirement. The MNOPF has established the Ensign Retirement Plan, which is now the industry scheme put in place to support our members in planning for retirement. Our aim is to ensure good pensions are supplied to maritime professionals that provide security in retirement. As one of the member-nominated trustees to the MNOPF, I am working with colleagues to secure a fair deal in pensions for all our members – past, present and future.
In addition to this, the Nautilus Welfare Fund (NWF) – 161 years old (2018) – continues to provide support for necessitous seafarers and their dependants who have fallen on hard times. I am part of the team that helps to ensure that the NWF continues to have the funds necessary to serve the residents of Mariners' Park.
We hope our new credit union will help members with the cost of continuing professional development
I am also part of the team supporting rating-to-ofﬁcer career progression through the John William Slater Fund, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. We are immensely proud of the work that is done by the Slater Fund – we have already provided grants* (in 2017*) totalling £5.4m and helped 445 ratings get their ﬁrst Ofﬁcer of the Watch certiﬁcate. We now also help crews in the large yacht sector and assist electro-technical ofﬁcers to gain their STCW certiﬁcates.
It is important that, as a union, we cooperate with shipowners who share our objectives of developing employees and continuously improving living and working conditions. We encourage members to get directly involved in the negotiating processes as, to get the best results for our members, we need to continually hear their views and concerns so that we can take these to the negotiating table. It is imperative that we work closely together, and we are taking steps to ensure these ties are as strong as ever. If members have an issue, we want to hear about it so we can commit to resolving the situation quickly and effectively. This is the type of union Nautilus is: we work hard on behalf of our members and we listen carefully to what they have to say. This is something I am personally very passionate about.
Contact with the Union has been improved in the last two years by the introduction of Nautilus 24/7 – the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service that helps Nautilus members wherever they are in the world. We are also launching a new website to cater for our members working all around the world, especially those who only have low bandwidth access when at sea. This is a big project for the Union and one that I am very proud to lead. The new website will provide a greater information base with easily-accessible news, a members' portal and improved functionality to enable members to interact with the secretariat. We are working to ensure we have the best IT systems in place, so members can feel close to the Union regardless of their location around the globe and from whichever device they use to access to the internet.
The future does pose challenges to the maritime sector, with economic uncertainty and – if we believe the almost constant barrage of articles in the media – developments such as autonomous ships. But, rest assured, we are working tirelessly to ensure a positive and fair future for all our members.
With the introduction of our new website, the formulation of our proposed Credit Union, the reinforcing of our commitment to industry-wide pensions, and our charitable activities for training and welfare support, I am conﬁdent about the future and the direction of Nautilus International.
I have every conﬁdence that Nautilus will be there to assist members and be even more accessible as the years progress, and I am excited to share these developments with our members.