Our Ref: SH/14/3
22nd April 2020
FURLOUGH ARRANGEMENTS, CORONAVIRUS – DFDS
I am sure that you will be aware by now that DFDS intends to furlough employees. Although numbers are not yet finalised, the company has indicated that approximately 150 employees will be furloughed on vessels operating out of Dover. This number is across all grades (Officers and Ratings) but I have been advised that this includes core staff and flexi staff within OBS grades and a small number of deck and tech including apprentices. DFDS has intended to furlough employees for sometime but was unsure as to how to proceed, as the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was not clear on how it would operate in the maritime sector given the complex employment models. The company has now sought the necessary assurances from the UK government and will be progressing with the relevant procedures.
DFDS will supplement 50% of any differential in wages (over £2500 per month) as a consequence of furlough. Further to this, I can confirm that there will be no changes to other financial terms and conditions of employment such as Employers Pension Contribution or the company Sick Pay Scheme. However, the company has advised that there will be a pay freeze at DFDS for all UK employees.
Although your union is disappointed with the situation as it stands, this remains the only viable way to protect employment and avoid redundancies at DFDS. When normality returns, the RMT will vigorously pursue the company to lift the pay freeze as quickly as possible. Your union is continuous dialogue with DFDS over this matter and will remain vigilant and defend our members' rights and terms and conditions throughout this process.
I trust this keeps you fully advised and I will inform you of any further developments as they arise. Keep safe.