Some cruise ship staff paid €1.60 an hour Channel 4 documentary reveals

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by uggboy, Oct 2, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    || Some cruise ship staff paid €1.60 an hour Channel 4 documentary reveals ||

    It's not the happy cruise, at least not for employees that is!:mad:
     
  2. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Interesting article but kinda light on facts.
     
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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  4. uggboy
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    Enough facts for me, especially the disturbing ones.
     
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  5. uggboy
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    These countries all experience high inflation rates, it's only a question of time when things will even out and t-shirts and iPads will get more expensive and the west will eventually squeezed too.
     
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  6. viguera
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    I remember watching several cruise-related TV shows where they go over the ship registrations. With the exception of NCL's Pride of America (which is confined to Hawaii), all cruise ships serving the US are registered in other nations. All of Carnival's ships are registered in either the Bahamas, Panama or Bermuda. All of NCL's ships, with the exception of the Pride, are registered in the Bahamas.

    There are also quite a few cruise lines outside of the US that are not registered in their home countries, even Cunard and Costa for European cruises.

    In the US at least, this is done to circumvent the law, as always. US-flagged ships must be built in the US and staffed by US crewmembers who are paid based on US minimum wage laws (set by the Fair Minimum Wage Act at $7.25, but in some states it's above $8 an hour).

    While there's no doubt that US shipyards can build these things with the best of them, it's highly unlikely that the cruise lines will take on the overhead of hiring US or British personnel when they can easily slide over to Panama or the Philippines and stock up on cheap labor.
     
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  7. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    At an "ask the captain and crew" chat last year, I asked about wages/salaries and the various labor laws to see if the flag/registration country trumped corporate locale and the captain dismissed my query as confidential info and I followed up to clarify I was asking a general employment query which would be on the applications without needing the hourly wage and was still dismissed by him.
     
  8. LETTERBOY
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    Not to sound snarky, but why would you ask the captain about that? Wages and salaries are probably set by someone above him in the corporate chain. He doesn't have any ability to influence that, does he?
     
  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I am often being asked about policies that are set by someone above me in the corporate chain and that I have no ability to influence. Doesn't mean I can't answer the question and explain what the policy and process is, assuming it's not confidential.
     
  10. uggboy
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    The real problem is that it is accepted to pay low wages, and yes, it is accepted by customers, politicians and owners of any company, this incl. cruise ships as well. I'm surprised that people find this OK, they wouldn't find it OK when this same people would change roles all of a sudden.
     
  11. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Some of your points are valid.. with this notable exception.
    There are not one single US shipyard capable of constructing cruise ships or any other large ships (like the common bulk cargo carriers) other than military builds. US Marine build capabilty has not existed for going on 50 years and the only vessels being built in the US are barges (which are often of very mediocre finish)
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    What's your solution?
     
  13. Dangjr213

    Dangjr213 Gold Member

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    I wonder if the "reported" wages included the tips from customers.

    The article mentions working 7 days a week but it fails to mention that most workers sign 6-9 month contracts and then spend 3 months at home before their next contract starts.
     
  14. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    When I worked for Carnival, the purser contract was for 70-hour weeks and $1700/month, which was $5.51/hr. Room, board, and uniforms were provided, meaning I had very little in the way of necessary expenses. I'm not sure that most people earning minimum wage have $1.60/hr left over after these expenses -- you're not comparing oranges to oranges.
     
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  15. uggboy
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    It's not up to me to find any solutions to this problem, as you say, let the market decide. I was never on a cruise.
     
  16. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Most spend 4-8 weeks home between contracts based on asking current employees on NCL. There's pressure to go down from 10 months to 8.

    Also, a waiter told me that when waitstaff (and similar grades) retire from NCL after a certain number of years (I was unsure if it was 15 or 20), they're paid a $25k bonus. Apparently there had been a few recent retirees.
     
  17. uggboy
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    I was never on a cruise, glad you have worked for Carnival and have some info for us here. I can only go with the info from the article and the TV program which was made undercover and showed real employees and what they make, as long real people make by with such a low wage that's a concern to me, why? As a child, we had been very poor, sometimes I had nothing to eat for 1 or 2 days, despite working parents. So, as long you wouldn't have lived like this, it's difficult to understand. I simply don't want that people must choose between healthcare or food.
     
  18. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I've worked for four lines.

    What would they make in their home countries? A huge chunk of staff on NCL are from the Philippines, implying that the wages suit them just fine.

    Also, if you are concerned about wages, simply don't sail ships with flags of convenience. As an example, NCL's Pride of America is US-flagged and must comply with all US employment laws. I don't know if Bermuda (Cunard's current ships) are considered a flag of convenience; when I worked on the QE2, it sailed under a UK flag.
     
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  19. newbluesea
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    Being a bit melodramatic here are we? Lets clear up a couple things here only the wait and cleaning staff on cruise-ship makes the low wage as listed above (all other engineering and vessel operational staff are paid quite decent wages)

    If you have ever been on a cruise or been around ships you would know that the suggested tips for these workers are often in excess of $10 day per passenger or per cabin. Note also that cabin staff is tipped separately from the dining room staff
    So all things being equal on a five day cruise if your table of twelve is being served by four attendants (and they have to in turn serve say five tables ) each one is making about $750 per five day cruise That doesnt include tips on alcohol which is never free on cruises.
    Remenber these workers get free room and board and health coverage when on the ship and I daresay... living much better than at home.

    So before we all go off the deep end here just remember the perception like all those " breaking news" stories is quite different from the real facts on the ground.

    Now try and tell me why you are not pissed because the waitress at your favorite upscale restaurant is only making $2.50 per hour.?
     
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  20. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    I was having an interesting conversation with travellers about tipping, wages, etc. Many were saying that they didn't feel that they should be required to tip (this cruise line automatically added the recommended tips per day onto your account vs. other ships that make it optional and for which many people don't do). The wages are supplemented by tips but since a cruise make-up is international many countries do not tip as part of their culture and sometimes don't tip on the cruise either. It was a fair question to pose as the forum was open to all operational questions of his senior staff. At the end of the day, you should know the terms of the contract for the job you accept - it shouldn't be a surprise. When tips are involved, your pay fluxuates and you can not know what each person will give you.
    I have worked as a waitress for $2.01/hr + tips and often educate our travelers to this fact when they query why we tip 20%?
     

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