Cruise ship staff paid at little as £1.30 per hour, reveals Channel 4 Dispatches special

by Emily DUNBAR on October 1, 2012

The cruise industry has rushed to defend its employment policies in the wake of an investigation conducted by Channel 4’s Dispatches which highlighted the low wages and long hours staff commonly experience.

The programme’s producers specially arranged for one undercover reporter to have five weeks working aboard the Celebrity Eclipse, a cruise ship that is operated by Celebrity Cruises.  The investigation revealed how many members of staff are paid less than half Britain’s national minimum wage (£6.19 per hour), with many of workers earning only $600 per month - the equivalent to around £1.30 per hour, with no gratuities.

Various members of staff also made claims that they are often required to report for work for seven days per week over the course of several months without any rest days, as others alleged that expensive fees must be paid to recruitment agencies just for them to obtain a job. Over the course of the five weeks, the earnings of the reporter averaged just £2.24 per hour while he was asked to put in 16 hours of work in per day.

The earnings he accumulated were far less than were promised by a British recruitment agency that was responsible for finding him the job. Out of his own pocket, he was forced to contribute £570 for his uniform in addition to compulsory medical checks and a visa.

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