On the 17th August, dock gate 4, in Southampton at midday there will be a protest against Condor Ferries and social dumping. This is a double headed campaign that has been started by the rank and file members of Southampton shipping who have seen the demise of opportunities on the south coast as much if not more than other regions and mass exploitation on the increase to satisfy the greed of shipping companies.
The use of foreign labour from a poor economy has been termed “social dumping” and is something that the RMT union has campaigned against for a number of years. The difference of this campaign is that the rank and file members are taking direct action to raise the awareness of the public about this appalling practice that is dragging the maritime heritage of both Portsmouth and Southampton to an all time low.
The Southampton demonstration is against the large cruise ship companies and there will be three vessels in that day so the protesters hope to capture the sympathy of ongoing passengers and the public alike by informing them of the conditions in which foreign labour are employed on luxury cruise vessels which is wages as low as 75p per hour, working 9 months on and 1 month off for 12 hours a day everyday.
Condor Ferries are alleged to be sailing between two British ports yet shipping legislation states that Guernsey and Jersey are not part of Britain. Condor Ferries utilises Guernsey law to pay around 50 Ukrainian seafarers £28.19 per day for a minimum of 12 hours, this is inclusive of overtime, captive time and any other bonus payment!
The workers are believed to be on for 3 months with 1 month off and have no entitlement to leave or pensions. The ferry sector in the UK is a time on and time off due to the demands of the job with the majority working 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off but with some doing only 1 week on and 1 week off such are the demands of an 84 hour week.
This is a major safety concern for both the exploited crew and passengers alike. Condor Ferries are owned by a investment bank called Macquarie group in sydney, Australia which has assets worth in excess of $150 Billion (Aus)!!
There has been a facebook group called “stop condor ferries‘ expolitation of seafarers” which is touching 1000 members and we would encourage people to check this out.
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