Transport and tourism operator Fullers360 has recently confirmed a record wage increase for its deckhands and skippers, marking a pivotal move for the maritime industry. The changes, which come into effect on 1 October, follow pay rises earlier this year, which equate to an increase of 25 per cent for skippers and 15 per cent for deckhands.
Since the pandemic and the closure of New Zealand’s borders which contributed to nationwide shortage of skilled maritime crew, Fullers360 has operated reduced ferry services on some routes. The wage increases intend to recognise the hard work and dedication of the Fullers360’s team, and aims to attract new recruits, both from local and international markets.
Mike Horne, Fullers360 CEO, says: “If you’re looking for adventure and variety, connection to the environment, camaraderie, and great pay, then come join our Fullers360 team.
“There’s a real sense of adventure and variety out on the water and daily tasks and challenges can change depending on everything from weather conditions to the time of the year, so every day is different from the last.
“We offer world-class training programmes and a range of employee benefits, and we’ve got big plans for the future of ferry services across the Hauraki Gulf.”
Fullers360 has a number of additional initiatives underway, or completed, to help address the skills shortage and return ferry services to pre-pandemic levels. In partnership with Auckland Transport, this includes an accelerated training programme for deckhands and skippers over the next 14-18 months.
Fullers360 crew are energised by the new wage rates. Marine Manager, Andy Johnson was previously a Skipper and is now overseeing all on-water crew and has described the new rates of pay a ‘game-changer’ for his peers, teams, and the wider industry.
“Having joined Fullers360 nearly 20 years ago, I feel extremely lucky to be part of a workplace where I’ve grown my career from the ground up, starting in an entry level role through to gaining all my qualifications, and now being able to pass that forward and enable the same opportunity for others.
“These new rates of pay will have a positive impact for our people and recognise how highly skilled marine crew are. Not only do we have a world-class training programme, Fullers360 offers the best office views in Tāmaki Makaurau, with a talented team who are passionate about their jobs on the water,” says Mr Johnson.
The wage increases have been gratefully appreciated by the Maritime Union. Russell Mayn, Secretary Local 13 welcomes the news, saying: “The Maritime Union congratulates Fullers360 on understanding that the rate for qualified seafarers on the Auckland harbour has to be at a level to attract and retain highly qualified staff and maintain a reliable transport and tourism service.”
Fullers360 believes that New Zealand has an opportunity to be a world-class destination for skilled maritime crew.
“We’re proud of our commitment to the transport and tourism industry, having been responsible for training about 75% of New Zealand’s skilled ferry maritime crew.
Alongside Auckland Transport, we have been advocating at a government level for a meaningful step-change across the wages on offer for the New Zealand maritime industry, which until now have not been internationally competitive. We think these wage increases will set a new remuneration benchmark and help to drive further positive change for our industry, maritime workers, and our customers,” says Mr Horne.
Against a challenging operating environment, Fullers360 was recently awarded Qualmark Gold certification which recognises Fullers360 as a best-in-class sustainable tourism operator, delivering exceptional customer experiences and leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industry a world-class sustainable visitor destination.
With Fullers360 setting a new benchmark for wages in market, Mr Horne says the organisation is already seeing the benefit of introducing highly competitive rates of pay.
“We know investing in our people is essential to ensuring Fullers360 is a great place to work, as well as delivering for our customers. Our record wage increase acknowledges the high level of skill and qualifications deckhands and skippers bring to their role on the water and recognises their leadership within our business.”
Chloe Ogilvie, Head of Communications