Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Union Which Represents Maritime Professionals Witnesses Conflict

Election Required for First Time at Nautilus to Choose General Secretary
Shipping News Feature

UK – NETHERLANDS - For the first time in the history of Nautilus International (previously NUMAST) the union for maritime professionals is holding an election for the position of General Secretary. The union represents the interests of 23,000 captains and officers aboard all manner of freight and passenger vessels plus marine pilots, oil and gas vessel staff, harbourmasters and a host of other seafaring trades. A former Merchant Navy Officer and Nautilus Official, Gavin Williams is challenging the incumbent, Mark Dickinson, for the position of General Secretary. The change comes following a campaign by some members to oust the current hierarchy.

This story has been amended following the withdrawal of Gavin Williams Statement - see at foot of original article.

Members are being urged to vote and nominations for the Council and General Secretary elections closed on Wednesday 27 December 2012 with the balloting process beginning on 23 February to run until 1700hrs on 12 April 2013. The results will be announced on 25 April 2013. There are 32 seats on the Nautilus Council – 24 for members of the UK branch and eight for members of the Netherlands branch. The seats reflect various categories of membership, and members are normally elected to serve a four-year term.

Two nominations were received for the general secretary election meaning the ballot is mandatory with the Council being required to make a nomination and unanimously approving Mark Dickinson as the Council’s nomination for the post.

According to Mr Williams campaign team over the last few years members have apparently become increasingly dissatisfied with the leadership of the Union. Wlliam’s camp says Nautilus has always been non-political, but the present leadership is attempting to take the Union down an increasingly political path, culminating in recent attempts at a merger with a non-maritime Union affiliated to the Labour Party. Williams said:

“The current leadership of the Union is preoccupied with irrelevant political causes instead of promoting and protecting the interests of the members. Nautilus International's stated mission is to be an independent financially viable international trade union and professional organisation. The members value this independence and I am standing to give members the chance to say 'No' to any interference in our union whether that be from political parties, non-maritime unions or other organisations.”

Ballot papers for relevant categories and information on all candidates will be sent to all full members in benefit, to be received by the deadline with the scrutineer for the elections being Electoral Reform Services.

Amendment by Gavin Wiliams and subsequent letter to the Daily Telegraph:

"Apology -  I have published on a website, Facebook and Twitter comments regarding the Chairman of the MNOPF and the Member Nominated Trustee Directors which I accept were entirely inaccurate and withdraw them with an unreserved apology to the individuals involved and to the Fund."

Gavin Williams

A letter to the Daily Telegraph written by Gavin Williams can be seen HERE.