RMT Demanding No Slave Labour On Brexit Ferries


AS the RMT protested at the Department for Transport yesterday, the Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani has refused to agree that UK employment legislation such as the national minimum wage or Equality Act which prevents pay discrimination, will apply in relation to the UK government’s Brexit ferry contracts, in an astonishing statement to MPs.

The Minister also refused to say whether even a single UK seafarer will be employed as a result of the £100m contracts. The latest scandal around the Brexit Ferry contracts raises fears that shipping bosses will benefit from tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money while they crew their ships with exploited workers from other countries who will not even be paid the minimum wage.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said, ‘These are UK government ferry contracts and the government would be quite within their rights to insist they are protected by UK employment law and crewed with UK seafarers.

‘Yet in answer to a simple yes or no question in Parliament the Shipping Minister ducked the issue and was unable even to say if UK employment legislation such as the national minimum wage or Equality Act which prevents pay discrimination will apply or if a single UK job will be created. ‘That is an absolute scandal and it is clear that the government is only interested in a bosses’ Brexit. Companies will trouser millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash while they crew their ships with exploited seafarers from other countries.’

  • The RMT is to hold further protests in Portsmouth today calling for the sacking of Condor and fair employment on ferries to the Channel Islands. The protest from 7am – 9am, is at Portsmouth International Port, George Byng Way, Portsmouth PO2 8SP.

It will call for an end to Condor Ferries paying poverty wages on their ships. It follows and builds on a demonstration held in December. Condor is contracted by the Jersey and Guernsey governments to operate lifeline ferry services between Portsmouth and Poole and the Channel Islands. Their contract is up for renewal in 2019.

RMT is demanding:

  • A Living Wage employer (£9.75/hr), as a minimum on lifeline Channel Island ferry services. • Recognition for RMT to collectively bargain for seafarer Ratings. • Register all UK-Channel Island ferries in the Red Ensign Group.
  • Binding targets for Seafarer apprentices over the life of the next contract.

The protest will take place under the banner of RMT’s SOS 2020 campaign which is calling out companies’ profiting from the exploitation of seafarers, including Condor Ferries’ owners, the Australian bank Macquarie, who extract a management fee under the current contract with the governments of Jersey and Guernsey.