Manx ferry officers to refuse to do overtime in dispute

Officers working for the Isle of Man‘s ferry firm will refuse to work overtime from 27 December in a dispute over changes to contracts, a union has said. ballot of Nautilus members, who make up 48 of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s 70 officers, showed 89% supported taking industrial action.

The dispute centres around live aboard arrangements on the new vessel Manxman during rest periods. It comes as the company already faces disruption this week due to gales. The 20:45 GMT crossing of the Manxman between Douglas and Heysham, in Lancashire, and its overnight return have both been cancelled because of gales over the Irish Sea.

The company has warned the disruption to sailings could last until Christmas Eve due to the weather.That uncertainty for passengers is now set to be followed by some members taking action short of strike, which is due to start at 18:00 on 27 December for an indefinite period.

During the action, ships officers would not carry out over time or act up to cover senior roles on the vessel, the union said. However, it said the safety of the people and the vessel would be maintained throughout the action.

The union said the dispute was over “fundamental changes” to contracts, the threat of fire and rehire, and a refusal to engage in independent arbitration.

Senior national secretary for Nautilus Garry Elliot said it was “shameful” the public would “pay the price for management’s stubbornness”

The union, remained “willing to find an amicable solution to avoid disruption but only if the threat of fire and rehire is rescinded and existing contracts of employment are honoured”, he added. Steam Packet managing director Brian Thomson said the firm had “offered everything we can”.

He said the company did not often ask officers to work “above and beyond” what their duties were, so he was “hopeful it won’t affect the service too badly”. The ballot results also showed 81% of members supported taking strike action, something the union had not ruled out in future.

Source: BBC

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