Unite praises its members who were “not prepared to roll over”

Woolwich FerryA strike by Woolwich Ferry workers has been averted after Unite secured a better pay deal for the workforce, and persuaded ferry operator Briggs Marine to abandon threats to tear up long-standing agreements.

The 26 Unite members – who include crew, electricians and road traffic teams – had voted unanimously to take strike action earlier this month over pay disparities, the use of agency staff and the operator’s mis-interpretation of its sick pay policy.

Briggs Marine has agreed to honour the existing sick pay policy and reduce the use of agency staff.  The deal will also see members receive a 2.2 per cent pay increase on basic pay and other allowances.

A joint working party will also be set up to deal with the pay disparities that have arisen since the service was transferred to the private sector.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This is a great result for our members and is a testament to their resolve in the face of an unjust attack on their livelihoods.

“They were not prepared to roll over and accept their employer’s attempts to tear up their rights and won significant concessions as a result.

“We have shown that through negotiation and determination, we can win.

“Unite will continue to work with Briggs Marine in a spirit of co-operation to keep ferrying passengers over the river Thames between Woolwich and Greenwich.”

The Woolwich Ferry Free service carries more than 3,500 vehicles and 5,000 passengers a day across the Thames between Woolwich and Greenwich.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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