RMT to hit Portsmouth "Port of Shame" this weekend

RMT to hit Portsmouth

23 July 2014

RMT Press Office

SHIPPING UNION RMT confirmed today that it will be hitting the Portsmouth “Port of Shame” again this weekend with a further demonstration against exploitation in the ferry industry as Channel Islands operator Condor publicly defends its policy of poverty pay.

The next day of protest against social dumping and exploitation by Condor Ferries will be at Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port, Wharf Road PO2 8RU on Saturday 26th July at 7am.

The latest protest comes as Condor issued a statement this week publicly defending the super-exploitation of Ukrainian seafarers on its ferries. The company statement attempts to gloss over the issue through the claim that the Ukrainian crew living on the ferries are a “minority” and that other staff benefit from better pay and conditions. The statement amounts to a wholesale admission by Condor that they are exploiting a key group of their workers and intend to carry on doing so.

The Ukrainian seafarers, on pay reported to be as low as £2.35 per hour, work on vessels to the Channel Islands from Portsmouth, Poole and Weymouth. The company’s latest accounts show a staggering 275% increase in pre-tax profits, entirely built on seafarers’ exploited labour. RMT says that this completely unacceptable crewing policy undermines UK employment and equality law, as well as damaging the maritime skills base through social dumping.

RMT has repeatedly warned that the coalition government’s so-called ‘light touch’ regulations in the Equality Act leave seafarers vulnerable to exploitation on grounds of nationality and increases the shocking practice of social dumping with Government connivance. The Condor scandal is outright evidence of this and that is the message that RMT protestors will be ramming home in Portsmouth on Saturday.

RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“This weeks statement from Condor is just a bare-faced admission that not only are they exploiting their Ukrainian seafarers but that they have every intention of continuing to do so. The claim that some of their staff are on better pay and conditions is an open confession that they are quite happy to use the loopholes in the law to exploit other members of their workforce. That is outrageous.
“The modern day slavery on our ships of shame is a long-running scandal and it is clear that RMT’s campaigning is pushing the issue up the agenda. The super-exploitation of foreign nationals in the British shipping industry is a massive scandal that the political elite want to keep quiet. That’s no surprise as it’s their wealthy mates running the shipping companies who benefit from this scam that dodges normal employment regulations while the European Union turns a blind eye.

“Social dumping is a mechanism seized on by some of the most rotten employers in the book to dry and batter down wages and conditions. RMT members and their supporters have the full support of the union for the protests in Portsmouth which are just the latest phase in our on-going campaign.”


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Tagged with: social dumping, condor ferries, port of shame