…migrant work for 12 hours, rest 4 hours; UK nationals rest 12 hours
Kofi is an international seafarer working thousands of kilometres from home. He is married and with children, and has a certificate in international law from Ghana Maritime University.
He was recruited from Ghana to work in the UK fishing industry, where he’s employed using a loophole in a visa scheme originally designed for seafarers leaving and joining cruise ships and big container vessels.
This ‘transit visa’ is not supposed to be used in the domestic fishing industry – it gives the holder no rights under UK law.
And now? Some UK fishing vessel owners are using the loophole to employ, exploit and silence migrant workers like Kofi, knowing that they will be hesitant to go to the authorities and face deportation.
Despite his credentials and valuable experience at sea, Kofi has been mistreated in the UK fishing industry.
He tells Big Issue North that he has faced racist abuse from the captains of the boats for speaking out against the discriminatory treatment of migrant workers, where they are made to work 12 hour shifts with just four hours given to rest. The UK nationals are given 12 hours rest.