Campaign against Irish Ferries

Circular No: NP/176/21


Our ref: S1/2

24th May 2021

Dear Colleagues

Campaign against Irish Ferries

I am writing to alert members to the campaign against Irish Ferries plans to extend its anti-trade union, exploitative and unsafe business model on to the Dover-Calais route.

Irish Ferries is a notorious ‘low-cost’ operator on the Rosslare-Pembroke, Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Cherbourg routes. Some Ratings are paid below the National Minimum Wage in the Republic of Ireland (€10.20 ph) and the UK (£8.91 ph) and Irish Ferries contract all crew to work two months-on, one month-off in a concerted attack on seafarers’ terms and conditions.

Since 2010, nearly £200m in dividends has been paid to Irish Continental Group’s private shareholders. This grotesque profit extraction is based on recruiting Ratings from Latvia and Poland on rates of pay that undermine collectively bargained terms and conditions in the domestic ferry industry.

Your Union continues to fight Irish Ferries and all low cost operators, industrially and politically. This campaign will be stepped up significantly in June, ahead of the transfer of the Cyprus-flagged Isle of Inishmore from Rosslare-Pembroke to the Dover-Calais route in July. The Greek-registered Blue Star 1 has been chartered by Irish Ferries to work Rosslare to Pembroke.

Meetings with local and national politicians, including the Shipping Minister, Robert Courts MP, have been held to demand support for RMT’s campaign against Irish Ferries and for local seafarers’ jobs and terms and conditions. We are also in dialogue with sister union Nautilus and the ITF to gather information which will increase the public impact of the campaign.

As we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and passenger and freight traffic starts to return, RMT will launch physical and online actions against Irish Ferries in Dover. You will be kept updated with these actions and I ask for the full participation of all members, especially in Shipping Branches which, as always, is essential to our success.

I would be grateful if you could bring the contents of this circular to the attention of members in your branch and you will be kept updated with all further developments.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary