Del LLoydlist By David Osler
BRITISH officers’ union Numast is to merge with its Dutch counterpart, the Federatie van Werknemers in de Zeevaart, in 2008.
The cross-border move marks the first time a UK trade union has fused with a continental counterpart.
What is more, unions in Canada, Sweden and Denmark are said to be paying attention to the development.
Numast sources confirmed that the door will be left open to like-minded potential partners.
That could eventually pave the way for a global “super-union” for shipping officers.
Word of the decision was announced to delegates at Numast’s biennial general meeting, which kicked off in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate yesterday.
Numast and FWZ have been in discussions over closer co-operation for the last three years.
They have worked together at several companies where both have members, including P&O; North Sea Ferries and P&O; Nedlloyd.
Numast general secretary Brian Orrell used his opening speech to announce that as a first step, the two sides are launching a joint organisation under the name of Nautilus.
This body will represent both unions at European and international institutions.
“When more and more of the legislation that affects our members comes from Brussels, not Westminster, building alliance with counterparts in the EC is not just a pioneering approach, but also one that is essential to respond to trends of multinational companies and multinational workforces,“ said Mr Orrell.
“Our intention, therefore, is to work towards a merger by 2008, putting Nautilus on the international stage and making us a real force to be reckoned with.”