Union says SERCO NorthLink should stop cuts in basic services rather than invest in “gastro pub” experiences for passengers

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The boss of a Scottish ferry firm in dispute with the RMT has said he will bring in “scab” labour to counteract the union’s planned strike on December 3rd.

The union has attacked the comments made by the managing director of SERCO NorthLink, saying he has sought to inflame an already volatile industrial relations situation that RMT have been striving to resolve through negotiation.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “SERCO are fully aware that we will not accept attacks on our members jobs and conditions and an all-out attempt to bulldoze through redundancies, cuts to core staffing numbers and the casualisation of these skilled shipping grades. Provocative comments about running a de-staffed and de-skilled scab service are particularly unhelpful when what we really need is a withdrawal of the threat to jobs.”

The union is also angry that while the company has been talking about spending £1 million on providing a “gastro pub experience” and other “premium” experiences for those who can afford it, it  is planning to hack back staffing levels to dangerously low levels, dump experienced and skilled seafarers in favour of agency staff and stretch dry-dock maintenance schedules right to the very limits of legal requirements.

RMT national secretary Steve Todd said: “This proves that the company is not short of money and could very easily maintain job levels and keep the skilled and experience workers in post where they are badly needed. We will not stand back while staff caught in the middle of this botched privatisation stitch-up on the Northern Isles routes are threatened with the sack in the dash to maximise SERCO’s profits and all we are seeking is a negotiated agreement that protects those safety-critical grades.”


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