Union call port protest at Condor’s ‘£2.46 an hour’ pay for Ukraine crew
A PROTEST against Condor’s treatment of some its staff is set to take place at the Portsmouth International Port on Friday.
It follows news that an early day motion has been tabled, which could see the pay of staff on the Channel Islands ferries being debated in the House of Commons.
The RMT union has organised Friday’s event, following the cancellation of a protest two weeks ago due to snow, and has called for fair employment terms for staff.
It has accused the ferry company of employing Ukrainian seafarers on a three-month contract and being paid £2.46 per hour for a 12-hour day in 2014.
Condor executive director Fran Collins said wages were only part of a package offered to staff, which included accommodation, food and uniform. She said the staff being referred to by the union live on board Condor’s ferries and returned to work for the company repeatedly.
But RMT general secretary Mick Cash said it was important to increase wages.
‘UK and Channel Island seafarers cannot and should not have to compete with pay rates as low as £2.46 per hour,’ he said.
‘With wages like that it is no wonder that between 1980 and 2016 the number of UK ratings fell by over 60%.
‘There are 87,000 ratings jobs on ferries and other merchant vessels working from UK ports, with a vast majority paid below the UK national minimum wage. RMT is fighting to change this.’
The RMT has called on politicians and the public in Jersey, Guernsey and the UK to support its demands for a minimum £9.75 an hour wage and recognition of the union.
RMT national secretary Steve Todd said that well as the low wages issue, Channel Islanders were dissatisfied by rising fares, safety incidents, service cancellations, delayed freight supplies and exploitative employment practices.
‘This is no way to run a lifeline ferry service for the people and businesses of the Channel Islands,’ he said.
The States of Jersey has voted to become a living wage employer, including sub-contractors, from 1 June.
An early day motion has been tabled by Labour MP Ian Mearns, who is calling on the UK Government to support the RMT’s campaign to eradicate low pay for seafarers on outsourced public contracts for lifeline passenger and freight ferry services between the UK and the Channel Islands.
The motion means the matter could be debated in the House of Commons, but no date is set yet. Not all motions are debated, but they are seen as a good way to raise the profile of issues.
The RMT protest is assembling in Portsmouth at 1.30pm on Friday. The Guernsey-bound ferry leaves the port at 9am.