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"Inflammatory rhetoric" by Nautilus says Packet as they sack workers

Fri, 22 Dec 2023

The Isle of Man Government owned ferry company has sacked workers on the last working day before Christmas.

The Steam Packet has been locked in a bitter dispute over 'live on board' arrangements and earlier today the company had stated that it was hopeful that a deal could be reached.

But a few hours later, the company served notice that those unwilling to sign the new agreements would have their employment terminated.

The move has angered the maritime union Nautilus who represent the Officers.

Martyn Gray, the union's Director of Organisng said:

"Isle of Man Steam Packet Company have, today, 22nd December 2023, served officers with  notice of termination of employment as they refused to sign new, detrimental, contracts of employment.

The company is now engaged in an active fire and rehire process, choosing to commence this three days before Christmas.

Nautilus director of organising Martyn Gray said “This is a shocking escalation by Steam Packet Company.

While we always knew Steam Packet management were ambivalent towards our members work life balance and their personal lives, informing them that they will be sacked 3 days before Christmas is a new low for the company.

It is now clear that while steam packet were stating publicly that they were open to discussions, they were planning to serve notice. These are not the actions of a responsible employer.

Those who have been served notice are being punished for the company’s failure to engage in independent collective arbitration and for standing up against the bullying tactics of fire and rehire.

Nautilus will continue with our planned industrial action commencing at 1800 on 27th December and will consider further action.

It is shameful that the Manx public will likely face escalating consequences of Steam Packet’s poor management and unreasonable behaviour.”

Meanwhile the Steam Packet issued the following statement

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is repeating its earlier statement that it does not want to lose any of it officers.

The Company feels the lack of progress on negotiations, or any genuine attempt to achieve a resolution from Nautilus, has left it no choice but to take the least palatable approach to solving the ongoing dispute. 

What the Company is doing is legal and proportionate.

Time and again the Company has delayed taking this action in order to give negotiations a chance to succeed. It has always been made clear 1st January was a deadline for making the changes.

All officers are still welcome to agree to the terms before 15th March or to take part in individual conciliation if they feel they are unable to live aboard for any reason.

Nautilus’s response and claims of surprise are disingenuous at best given the Union’s statements on the topic since September.

The Company urges Nautilus to calm the inflammatory rhetoric and focus on achieving the best outcome for the officers it represents.



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