Crew on Celebrity Eclipse paid 'only 75p a day’ claims Channel 4's Dispatches

Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity Eclipse

First published in Shipping Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

TV viewers will tonight see claims of crew on a Southampton-based cruise ship facing below British minimum working standards.

Undercover reporters say their secretly-filmed footage on Celebrity Eclipse, which left Southampton on Saturday on a two-week trip to the Canaries and Azores, shows staff facing poor conditions.

However the head of the firm which runs the ship has already said she expects Channel 4’s Dispatches show, which is due to air tonight, to be “biased and unbalanced”.

It comes just months after Southampton-based Carnival Cruises was criticised for withholding tips from low-paid workers unless they hit performance targets.

It was revealed some crew were being paid as little as 75p a day.

Reporters travelled as passengers and spent time working on board Celebrity Eclipse for tonight’s programme, which producers say is an examination of “life below deck for the multi-national workforce who toil behind the scenes of glamorous ocean-going holidays”.

Jo Rzymowska, vice-president and general manager at Celebrity Cruises – part of the Royal Caribbean firm, which is the second biggest cruising company in the world, behind Carnival – has made a pre-emptive attack on the documentary and refuted its claims.

She said: “Sadly, we are anticipating a biased and unbalanced programme about the labour and wage issues in the cruise industry – with Celebrity Eclipse as the show’s primary example.”

Ms Ryzmowska said the company is “committed” to providing quality cruise holidays, and had already taken steps “to investigate all of the allegations” made in the programme.

Promoting the show, Dispatches’ makers said: “Almost two million Brits took a cruise last year. For many, it’s the holiday of a lifetime with hard-earned savings going into a dream adventure.

“Glossy marketing films and brochures depict a cheerful workforce dedicated to making a cruise a five-star experience.

“Channel 4’s Dispatches goes undercover to investigate the reality of life below deck for the multi-national workforce who toil behind the scenes of glamorous ocean-going holidays.

“The cruise industry generates billions of pounds in revenue each year and working on a ship provides many people from around the world a muchneeded source of income.

“However Dispatches reporter Tazeen Ahmad – travelling as a passenger on a European cruise – and an undercover reporter working as an assistant waiter discover working conditions below the legal minimum in the UK.”

Comments (14)

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4:45pm Mon 1 Oct 12

shipmonk says...

The figure in the Carnival case was 75p an hour, not a day - hardly a king's ransom but best to get the facts (and the headline) correct.
The figure in the Carnival case was 75p an hour, not a day - hardly a king's ransom but best to get the facts (and the headline) correct. shipmonk
  • Score: 0

4:48pm Mon 1 Oct 12

shipmonk says...

As I understand it, tonight's documentary alleges wages as low as £1.30 an hour.
As I understand it, tonight's documentary alleges wages as low as £1.30 an hour. shipmonk
  • Score: 0

5:11pm Mon 1 Oct 12

willygetaway says...

Pay peanuts and you get monkeys, if you cruise learn to swim
Pay peanuts and you get monkeys, if you cruise learn to swim willygetaway
  • Score: 0

5:12pm Mon 1 Oct 12

costa gaz says...

Not defending the cruise lines but they do not come under uk employment laws.
The wages paid are reasonably high in some of the countries these staff come from, if they could get a job in their homeland.
However they are still badly treated by their bosses and dare not complain.
Not defending the cruise lines but they do not come under uk employment laws. The wages paid are reasonably high in some of the countries these staff come from, if they could get a job in their homeland. However they are still badly treated by their bosses and dare not complain. costa gaz
  • Score: 0

5:29pm Mon 1 Oct 12

Stephen J says...

We're generally more than happy to buy products made by people who are working for far less than the UK minimum wage and under conditions which would be illegal here. Perhaps we have a conscience here because, in the case of cruise ships, we are forced to come fact-to-face with them. Pittance wages and poor conditions are a scandal wherever they are. We as consumers can do something about it, but only if we want to. For example, do we boycott those lines which choose to flag their vessels abroad purely in order to legalise these conditions? Do we heck.
We're generally more than happy to buy products made by people who are working for far less than the UK minimum wage and under conditions which would be illegal here. Perhaps we have a conscience here because, in the case of cruise ships, we are forced to come fact-to-face with them. Pittance wages and poor conditions are a scandal wherever they are. We as consumers can do something about it, but only if we want to. For example, do we boycott those lines which choose to flag their vessels abroad purely in order to legalise these conditions? Do we heck. Stephen J
  • Score: 0

5:43pm Mon 1 Oct 12

rightway says...

WHO CARES
If they don't want the job why not jump ship in Southampton and get a council house.
WHO CARES If they don't want the job why not jump ship in Southampton and get a council house. rightway
  • Score: 0

5:45pm Mon 1 Oct 12

rightway says...

rightway wrote:
WHO CARES If they don't want the job why not jump ship in Southampton and get a council house.
Or move in with some of the do-gooders who seem to feel so strongly about it.
[quote][p][bold]rightway[/bold] wrote: WHO CARES If they don't want the job why not jump ship in Southampton and get a council house.[/p][/quote]Or move in with some of the do-gooders who seem to feel so strongly about it. rightway
  • Score: 0

6:11pm Mon 1 Oct 12

Maine Lobster says...

This shouldn't be a shock to any of us. We all know that the vast majority of staff on cruise liners are from third world countries and the reason they are hired is because the cruise companies can get away with paying them peanuts. That is why companies outsource manufacturing and call centres etc. to these nations, because the cost of living is a fraction of that in the west. Its simple exploitation.
This shouldn't be a shock to any of us. We all know that the vast majority of staff on cruise liners are from third world countries and the reason they are hired is because the cruise companies can get away with paying them peanuts. That is why companies outsource manufacturing and call centres etc. to these nations, because the cost of living is a fraction of that in the west. Its simple exploitation. Maine Lobster
  • Score: 0

9:48pm Mon 1 Oct 12

Georgem says...

Maine Lobster wrote:
This shouldn't be a shock to any of us. We all know that the vast majority of staff on cruise liners are from third world countries and the reason they are hired is because the cruise companies can get away with paying them peanuts. That is why companies outsource manufacturing and call centres etc. to these nations, because the cost of living is a fraction of that in the west. Its simple exploitation.
How is it exploitation? Like you say, the cost of living there is a fraction of what it is here.
[quote][p][bold]Maine Lobster[/bold] wrote: This shouldn't be a shock to any of us. We all know that the vast majority of staff on cruise liners are from third world countries and the reason they are hired is because the cruise companies can get away with paying them peanuts. That is why companies outsource manufacturing and call centres etc. to these nations, because the cost of living is a fraction of that in the west. Its simple exploitation.[/p][/quote]How is it exploitation? Like you say, the cost of living there is a fraction of what it is here. Georgem
  • Score: 0

10:37pm Mon 1 Oct 12

dolomiteman says...

Georgem wrote:
Maine Lobster wrote:
This shouldn't be a shock to any of us. We all know that the vast majority of staff on cruise liners are from third world countries and the reason they are hired is because the cruise companies can get away with paying them peanuts. That is why companies outsource manufacturing and call centres etc. to these nations, because the cost of living is a fraction of that in the west. Its simple exploitation.
How is it exploitation? Like you say, the cost of living there is a fraction of what it is here.
They exploite the fact that overseas labour is cheaper, there is nothing wrong in doing this as long as the staff themsleves are not exploited by the employers.

The fact here still stands that this story has nothing to do with what the british minumum wage is or what the UK working time regulations say. these ships are not UK based, not UK registered so are not bound by UK or british employment laws or rules.
[quote][p][bold]Georgem[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Maine Lobster[/bold] wrote: This shouldn't be a shock to any of us. We all know that the vast majority of staff on cruise liners are from third world countries and the reason they are hired is because the cruise companies can get away with paying them peanuts. That is why companies outsource manufacturing and call centres etc. to these nations, because the cost of living is a fraction of that in the west. Its simple exploitation.[/p][/quote]How is it exploitation? Like you say, the cost of living there is a fraction of what it is here.[/p][/quote]They exploite the fact that overseas labour is cheaper, there is nothing wrong in doing this as long as the staff themsleves are not exploited by the employers. The fact here still stands that this story has nothing to do with what the british minumum wage is or what the UK working time regulations say. these ships are not UK based, not UK registered so are not bound by UK or british employment laws or rules. dolomiteman
  • Score: 0

10:48pm Mon 1 Oct 12

MGRA says...

exchange rates and relative standards of living..... there.... thats sorted.... this is not really a story.
exchange rates and relative standards of living..... there.... thats sorted.... this is not really a story. MGRA
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Folkestone Saint says...

I took a cruise this year, never again, the staff were mainly curt, and the amount of people who just let their children get drunk and run wild well into the early hours was amazing, I thought I was in Benidorm. Back to the Adventure company next year with culture and challenges on the menue not how many pint's you can drink.
I took a cruise this year, never again, the staff were mainly curt, and the amount of people who just let their children get drunk and run wild well into the early hours was amazing, I thought I was in Benidorm. Back to the Adventure company next year with culture and challenges on the menue not how many pint's you can drink. Folkestone Saint
  • Score: 0

12:42pm Tue 2 Oct 12

loosehead says...

Prescott was the head of the seamans Union & sold out British seamen/women
The foreign workers were more than happy to take over these jobs for those wages they can increase their wages by hundreds with tips & are considered well paid in their home countries.
The RMT Union instead of bleating on about them should be fighting to get British workers back on board.
These TV channels seem to forget these people aren't chain ganged into working on board these ships & if this pay was to low they wouldn't work on board ship
Prescott was the head of the seamans Union & sold out British seamen/women The foreign workers were more than happy to take over these jobs for those wages they can increase their wages by hundreds with tips & are considered well paid in their home countries. The RMT Union instead of bleating on about them should be fighting to get British workers back on board. These TV channels seem to forget these people aren't chain ganged into working on board these ships & if this pay was to low they wouldn't work on board ship loosehead
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Nicole23 says...

Its called Capitalism, lower wages = more profit the basic principle, this is why cruising is such a great business model and so popular at the moment.
A mobile workforce not bound by land based rules with the customers buying the fruits of their labour at 1000% profit at source,there's no other scam like it.
If you dont like it, dont cruise.
This is nothing compared to what Apple gets up to anyway.
Its called Capitalism, lower wages = more profit the basic principle, this is why cruising is such a great business model and so popular at the moment. A mobile workforce not bound by land based rules with the customers buying the fruits of their labour at 1000% profit at source,there's no other scam like it. If you dont like it, dont cruise. This is nothing compared to what Apple gets up to anyway. Nicole23
  • Score: 0

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