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Steam Packet notes Nautilus ballot with 'disappointment'

Fri, 17 Nov 2023

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has said the notice to ballot for industrial action served by the Nautilus Union has been noted with “disappointment”.

The full statement released by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company today (November 17):

“The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company notes with disappointment the notice served by Nautilus union. The Company has made a generous offer to the officers represented by the Union and this remains on the table.

It is especially disappointing that this move comes after a period of positive engagement with Nautilus and which appeared to be on the verge of a resolution of all outstanding issues. Throughout the negotiations, the Company has made clear that officers with circumstances requiring them to be at home on a daily basis will be accommodated as far as possible. However, the future business model – of which the significant investment in Manxman is part - requires live on board as a fundamental requirement of future contractual employment.

The Company urges Nautilus to return to the table and to negotiate a solution rather than threatening disruption of lifeline services that will affect the whole of the entire Isle of Man.”

Nautilus International has written to Manx Sea Transport Guernsey Limited (MSTG), which employs seafarers working for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPC), to officially inform the company that it will be balloting members on industrial action.

Nautilus entered a dispute with Manx Sea Transport on September 29 after it says it threatened Nautilus members with fire and rehire if they did not accept new live onboard arrangements. It says this would see members lose up to 76 days per year with their families and loved ones.

The letter to MSTG states: "It appears that your agents are planning on imposing unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of our members’ employment whilst persisting in refusing to engage in arbitration, contrary to clause six of the collective bargaining agreement between Nautilus International and your agents.

Despite significant efforts and talks seeking to resolve the dispute having taken place, no satisfactory resolution has yet been found.

This attempt to impose [live onboard] is despite the fact that there is no such term in the bargaining unit’s contracts of employment or the collective bargaining agreement between Nautilus International and the IOMSPC to force such a change.

To force this change would amount to a fundamental breach of the contracts of employment between MSTG and its impacted employees."

The Isle of Man’s industrial relations officer has also been informed about the ballot.


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