CREWING LEVELS, STENA ESTRID, HOLYHEAD TO DUBLIN ROUTE – STENA LINE

Our Ref: SH/14/5
9th January 2020


Dear Colleagues

CREWING LEVELS, STENA ESTRID, HOLYHEAD TO DUBLIN ROUTE – STENA LINE

Further to my previous letter, the RMT has had further meetings with Stena Line to discuss the crewing levels on the new vessel. Despite the best efforts of the union’s negotiating team, Stena Line confirmed that they will adopt the crewing numbers they initially proposed (i.e. 23 permanent core crew and 7 permanent part time) and that they are unwilling to negotiate further on this matter. As part of the deck proposals, the Stena Estrid will mirror the Stena Adventurer set up and one Able Seaman (AB) will be taken from the Stena Adventurer to supplement the Stena Estrid. Your union has objected to this and believes that this move is unnecessary; however, the company has advised that the decision to move an AB is also non-negotiable.

The union’s negotiating team are extremely disappointed at the company’s intransigence. The RMT has throughout this process worked in good faith with management and has suggested several cost neutral solutions to assist the company in increasing the crewing levels on the Estrid. The new crewing model which is inferior to the current crewing model on the Superfast X could have catastrophic implications for safe working systems and working practices. Accordingly, the National Executive Committee has instructed me to hold a ballot for industrial action of you and your colleagues at Holyhead to force Stena Line back to negotiations.

In line with this instruction, on Thursday 16th January 2020 the independent scrutineer will send a ballot paper to your home address and the ballot will close on Thursday 13th February 2020. I urge you to complete and return your ballot paper in the freepost envelope provided as soon as you receive it. You will be asked to vote for both strike action and industrial action short of a strike – I urge you to vote ‘YES’ to both.

MAKE SURE YOU USE YOUR VOTE

If you do not receive your voting paper, or know of a colleague who has not received it, please call the freephone helpline on 0800 376 3706, RMT Head Office on 0207 387 4771 or e-mail info@rmt.org.uk to request a replacement.

Additionally, as you will be aware the Stena Estrid will be flagged under the Cypriot flag. Your union has sought assurances from the company on employee job security and have been advised this will be protected no matter what the flag state. The RMT has been in regular contact with the company raising the issues which you have brought to our attention, such as discharge books, National Insurance (NI) contributions, state pensions etc. Just to update you on some of these matters, the company has advised that they will organise and pay for Cypriot discharge books. They have also distributed circulars concerning NI contributions to the relevant ships. However, the RMT is concerned that the current guidance is insufficient and the union has asked that a helpline to offer independent tax advice is established as a matter of urgency to avoid confusion and rumour. The RMT has also requested a meeting with HMRC to discuss this matter.

I will of course keep you advised of any developments in this matter when further information becomes available.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary