£1.90 AN HOUR ON CELTIC FERRIES – major unions lead protest

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LEADERS and officials of Britain and Ireland’s transport unions will today expose the poverty-pay shame of a ferry company operating in UK and Irish waters, at the start of a week of action against rogue shipping employers.

The Liverpool ‘offices’ of Celtic Link Ferries – in reality a shed in Regent Road – will be visited by senior figures from the dozen UK and Irish unions affiliated to the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

The unions are Amicus, Aslef, GMB, Nautilus, PCS, Prospect, RMT, Siptu, TGWU, UNISON and Usdaw.

A graphic demonstration of pay rates as low as £1.90 an hour will be mounted outside Celtic Link’s shed at 13:45, as the trade unionists deliver a letter urging the company to co-operate with the ITF to end poverty pay and bring justice and dignity to its operations.

• In March this year ITF inspectors were called to Southampton to assist seafarers working on Celtic Link’s Cyprus-flagged charter vessel Celtic Mist, which was detained by Port State Control as a result of its sub-standard condition, and subsequently denied a licence. Seafarers aboard the vessel complained of appallingly low wages and poor health and safety standards.

• The ITF has learned that seafarers aboard the Cyprus-flagged Celtic Star, which operates between Dublin and Liverpool, are paid as little as £1.90 an hour.

• Aboard the Bahamas-flagged MV Diplomat, which operates for Celtic Link between Cherbourg and Rosslare, a seafarer was denied proper treatment to a serious hand injury.

‘We want operators like Celtic Link to co-operate with us to end poverty pay and introduce decent employment standards,’ said ITF co-ordinator Norrie McVicar.

‘In the coming week or so we will be targeting other rogue operators that operate in British and Irish waters, and we will be making it quite clear that there is nowhere for them to hide,’ he added.