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The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) recently revealed alarming statistics showing nearly half of all seafarers working in the Canadian marine sector have experienced harassment or bullying during their career.
This report, released by SIU Canada, is a compilation of data from a survey conducted in the summer of 2023. The survey was sent out to all SIU members, representing the majority of unlicensed seafarers across Canada.
The data indicates a pressing issue within an industry already grappling with a worker shortage. The SIU hopes that by publicizing these findings, it can spark an industry-wide discussion about combating harassment at sea and make the career more attractive to potential job seekers.
While the report suggests some improvements in workplace conditions compared to the past, it stresses that further actions are needed to eradicate harassment on Canadian vessels.
“The issue of workplace harassment needs urgent attention from the entire industry. While seafaring is a rewarding career, we must ensure a safe and healthy environment to tackle recruitment and retention challenges,” said SIU Canada’s President, Michael Given.
The survey reveals that 46% of all seafarers and 69% of female seafarers report having faced harassment during their careers. Moreover, 9% of all seafarers and 35% of female seafarers reported experiencing sexual harassment. It also shows that 67% of harassment victims were targeted by a superior. Nearly half of them did not report the incident, and 60% were uncertain or disagreed that their employer provides enough protection against harassment.
In response to the report, SIU Canada has committed to working with companies, shipowners, and government bodies to address these issues. They have also pledged to work diligently for all Canadian seafarers to help bring an end to harassment and bullying at sea.
“All industry stakeholders must do better to ensure that workers in the Canadian marine sector can earn a living in a safe and harassment-free work environment,” the union said.
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