Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Latvian sailor

Trinity College Economics Professor, Sean Barrett, says the Latvian sailor will be like the Polish plumber in Paris. He could be right, but what if the sailors weren't actually from Latvia? On December 4 Douglas Dalby wrote in the Sunday Times that Latvian sailors wouldn't work for the wages that Irish Ferries is offering.
Jazeps Spridzans, the director of the Latvian seamen's register, told Leta, the Latvian national press agency, that the Riga-based firm tasked with recruiting staff at €3.60 an hour will have to source contract staff from poorer former Eastern Bloc countries rather than Latvia, where ships' officers command better rates on German and Scandinavian ships.
This got me wondering - is Irish Ferries actually hiring Latvians? How do they know? Could they unknowingly be hiring sailors from non-EU countries? How does Irish Ferries know that their new employees are from Latvia and not from Russia or Byelorus or wherever?