Circular No: NP/173/17
TO ALL BRANCHES AND REGIONAL COUNCILS.
Our ref: S12/1/17
19th October 2017
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company – Strategic Sea Services Agreement
I write to update you on the outcomes to recent discussions your union has had with the Isle of Man Government regarding their proposals for a new Strategic Sea Services Agreement (SSSA) with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IoMSPC).
In summer 2016, the Manx Government’s Department for Infrastructure announced plans to renew its user agreement with IoMSPC, which would require the company to submit new proposals for continuing to provide subsidy-free ferry services whilst investing in new vessels and growing passenger and vehicle numbers to 2026 and beyond. RMT met with the then Infrastructure Minister, Phil Gawne to raise the need for TUPE-style protections of terms and conditions of employment for Manx and UK seafarers, as well as investment in jobs and training for local seafarers on the future fleet. Mr Gawne subsequently lost his seat in Tynwald elections in September 2016.
Following the appointment of Ray Harmer MHK as Infrastructure Minister, further meetings were held with the Manx Government and RMT officials, including Port Committee representatives in 2017 in which we re-submitted our concerns. As a result, agreement was reached with the Minister in a number of priority areas to address over the coming months.
In line with the NEC’s decision, I am working with colleagues to arrange further meetings with the Infrastructure and Education departments of the Isle of Man Government to reach a satisfactory agreement over job security, terms and conditions, pensions, seafarer training and career development and secure funding sources (including for the proposed new landing infrastructure in Liverpool).
I am also carrying out the NEC’s instruction to arrange meetings with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. The IoMSPC’s initial proposals to the Manx Government were rejected over the summer and the Tynwald has subsequently instructed the Minister to continue negotiating with the Steam Packet to reach an agreement.
We will also engage with other stakeholders, including Nautilus where opportunities exist to work jointly in pursuit of our members key aims. This will also involve approaches to Members of the House of Keys, should that be necessary to secure our members’ aims.
I will also ensure that adequate resources are made available to protect RMT Steam Packet members’ interests in carrying out these decisions and any other deemed necessary to advance their interests during this process.
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 further developments.
Circular No: NP/173/17