HIGH COMPANY PROFITS WHILE WORKERS MAKE CENTS AN HOUR
How much pay do crew make? All the crew who spoke say that they are not allowed to discuss how much they are paid. But, one says anyway, it is less than any minimum wage. Gallery steward and hotel stewards make $550 a month. They work 12 to 14 hour days, seven days a week.
On a 30 day month that is only $1.52 an hour for 12 hour days. Out of that, they have to pay other crew members for favors in order to perform their job. This means the real pay is less than a buck an hour for the crew members who work the hardest. They rely on tips heavily but say that on those cheap Carnival cruises tips are poor.
This too is not surprising as waiters and waitress across America have been screaming about the huge increase in non-tippers. So much so, some restaurants have resorted to adding the tip onto the meal ticket, automatically.
One crew member says he works 11 to 16 hour days, seven days a week for only $600 per month or on average about $1.42 an hour.
Common complaints are crew are worked until exhausted and under those conditions mistakes are made and they become injured due to their weakened mental and physical state as well as easily falling ill. Once injured, they are put off the ship at the next port to find their way home, frequently without any medical care. Crew have seen what happens when management doesn't get what they want, so they smile and keep their mouth shut just hoping to finish their contract and make it back home.
Hardest hit though is the hair dressers and spa technicians or as they are called the 'steiners'. One says she is paid only $49 a week and normally would make her money on tips. However she was on a "no-tipping"ship. Steiners are generally suppose to make a commission on the salon products they sell.
One requirement for recruiting them is a strong sales ability. The strong sales ablility is prevalent in many of the guest interaction roles. Crew are told to push products, and push them hard.
One recruiting firm, Steiner TransOcean, Steiner Training Ltd, has confirmed this low pay for the steiners, and confirms that those crew work 12 hour days with very little time off during those 12 hours. But, they claim the steiners only work 66 hours a week for $50 or $0.75 an hour and get commissions. When that is all you make unless you shove products down the passenger's throats, there is clear motivation to sell hard.
Steiner, headquartered in Nassau, Bahamas provides dirt cheap labor of about 2,000 crew members on average for 129 cruise ships including those owned by Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard/Seabourn Cruise Lines, Holland America Line,, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
While those Steiner sends to the cruise ships make less than a buck an hour, Steiner Leisure's revenues for the third quarter ending September 30, 2007 rose 11.2% to $140.4 million from $126.3 million during the comparable quarter in 2006. Income from continuing operations for the third quarter was $11.4 million in both 2007 and 2006. Steiner not only provides cheap labor to cruise ship, they also send employees to land based businesses such as casinos and hotels. There is no information as to whether those workers are paid more or less than the cruise ship based workers.
Their stock, STNR is traded on the NASDAQ and is currently in the mid $40 range.
IT IS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW IT IS WHO YOU B---
One frustrated crew member, who says she worked as a supervisor was told who to promote, and had no choice, though others had worked harder and were more qualified. She was told by her supervisor who to promote. She claims one woman was promoted soley because she was having an affair with a manager, and she names both of their names.
What echoed loudest was morale was very low for some crew members, especially those from developing nations and that ship jumping is a problem.
Ship jumpers are ship crews from other countries, who leave the ship while in a foreign port, never come back, disappearing into the population of some large American city. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirms this saying "thousands" of crew members jump ship each year, though some are from cargo ships. The CBP doesn't seem to keep any real statistics on this, as odd as that is. They have no idea of any exact numbers of jumpers from any sector of the maritime industry.
Many crew members are afraid to talk, saying that "carnival has a long arm." Whether Carnival has a long arm or not, can not be documented but we do know this.
SILENCE OF THE SHEEP
In our video library we have had quite a few crew videos that were not flattering to the cruise lines. Once placed on our website, only a short time later some of those videos disappeared. We don't know if the crew member(s) became afraid the cruise line would see it and come after them, they would lose their job, not be able to get a job on other cruise ships or whether the line recognized the ship and had You Tube pull the video. The videos disappearing are from crew on various cruise lines, not just Carnival. But, there is a growing trend of crew video disappearing into thin air.