UK Union To Protest Condor’s Conditions

13th March 2018

A UK transport union is calling to sack Condor, if it does not improve working conditions for its staff.

Maritime union RMT says it will be holding a protest this Friday, at Portsmouth International Port, asking for an ‘end to Condor Ferries paying poverty wages’.

According to the union, Ukrainian Seafarers, working with Condor Ferries on a 3-month contract, have been paid £2.46 per hour, for a 12-hour working day.

RMT is calling on politicians in Guernsey, Jersey and the UK, to support its demands for a minimum of £9.75 per hour, on lifeline Channel Island ferry services.

It would also like to be recognised to collectively bargain for seafarer Ratings, register all UK-Channel Island ferries in the Red Ensign Group and bind targets for seafarer apprentices over the life of the new contract.

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, says:

‘UK and Channel Island seafarers cannot and should not have to compete with pay rates as low as £2.46 per hour. 

With wages like that, there 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.’

However, Condor denies the accusations, and in a statement to the islands’ media, Executive Director, Fran Collins, says it is a ‘proud and responsible employer’ and that it ‘totally refutes the RMTS’s absurd statements’.

Condor claims that it fully complies and exceeds domestic and international employment regulations ‘covering the pay, terms and conditions and protection of all staff.’

We are told salary is only part of the ‘overall package provided to these individuals’, as it also includes ‘free en-suite accommodation, all food, laundry facilities and uniform together with non-contributory life assurance, bonus scheme and medical cover’.

The ferry service also says it meets the travel costs of staff to attend work from their home countries.

Executive Director, Fran Collins, says:

‘The crew members to which this report refers live on board our conventional ferries and many repeatedly return to work for us in preference to taking up other opportunities elsewhere. Their interests are represented by colleagues in the highly active forums we run on our routes and all remain a proud and integral part of the Condor family. They also represent less than 5% of the total workforce of 570 staff. 

Condor provides training for crew at all levels (from cabin crew to Master and Chief Engineer) along with financial and other support for career development which includes cadetships and ratings’ training. 

Commercial shipping is a multi-national industry, creating opportunities for citizens of many countries to work internationally. Condor’s recruitment of non-EU staff is therefore not uncommon and in line with other UK ferry firms.’ 

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