12 March 2018

Maritime Union to Protest RoRo Passenger and Ferry Freight Company Crew Wage Rates  

Early Day Motion in Parliament Proposed as Port Demonstration Goes Ahead

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Shipping News Feature UK – CHANNEL ISLES – The campaign being waged by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) enters another phase this week when a protest against RoRo freight and passenger ferry operator Condor will be held from 13:30 hours on Friday 16 March at the Port of Portsmouth. The RMT objects to the pay of overseas workers at a rate considerably below that to which a British registered seaman would be entitled.

Condor Ferries services France and the Channel Islands from Portsmouth and the RMT says that last month the States of Jersey voted to become a Living Wage (£9.75 per hour) employer from 1 June 2018. By contrast it claims that, according to contracts of employment confidentially supplied to the RMT in 2014, Ukrainian Ratings working on Portsmouth to Jersey and Guernsey routes were being paid just £2.46 per hour.

It goes on to state that correspondence between the union and Condor in September 2017 revealed that Condor continue to employ ‘international crew’ who live on the vessels for the length of their temporary contracts, so the company can avoid UK and Jersey employment law in order to maximise returns to the owner, Macquarie.

In light of the fact that Condor’s contracts with the Governments of Jersey and Guernsey are coming up for renewal, and that the recent vote to increase minimum rates for Jersey State employees includes contractors, the RMT demonstration is intended to highlight what it considers to be a grave offence against fair employment practices.

The union has been conducting its ‘Save Our Seafarers – SOS 2020’ campaign for some time and in November lodged its objections to Condor tendering for a new inter island service. The Condor fleet is registered under a Flag of Convenience (Bahamas), and the union insists up to date information on seafarer wage scales has not been released for over three years, despite the company’s repeated claims to be fully compliant with UK, Channel Island and international laws, and now an Early Day Motion has been tabled in the British parliament by two Labour party MP’s to highlight the company’s payment record.

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