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Union claims SPC officers served with notice of termination

Nautilus describes the move as "a new low" for the ferry operator

The union in dispute with the Steam Packet Company over proposed changes to workers' terms says officers have been served with notice of termination today.

Nautilus claims its members received the notice after refusing to sign new contracts of employment, which it's described as an active fire and rehire process.

Nautilus' Director of Organising Martyn Gray said in a statement: "This is a shocking escalation by the Steam Packet Company. While we always knew Steam Packet management were ambivalent towards our members work life balance and their personal lives, informing them that they will be sacked three days before Christmas is a new low for the company.

"It is now clear that while Steam Packet were stating publicly that they were open to discussions, they were planning to serve notice. These are not the actions of a responsible employer.

"Those who have been served notice are being punished for the company’s failure to engage in independent collective arbitration and for standing up against the bullying tactics of fire and rehire.

"Nautilus will continue with our planned industrial action commencing at 1800 on 27th December and will consider further action. It is shameful that the Manx public will likely face escalating consequences of Steam Packet’s poor management and unreasonable behaviour."

Earlier on Friday, the Steam Packet released a statement insisting it was keen to reach an amicable solution.

In response to Nautilus's announcement on Friday evening, the ferry operator said: 

"The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is repeating its earlier statement that it does not want to lose any of its officers. 

"The Company feels the lack of progress on negotiations, or any genuine attempt to achieve a resolution from Nautilus, has left it no choice but to take the least palatable approach to solving the ongoing dispute. 

"What the Company is doing is legal and proportionate. 

"Time and again the Company has delayed taking this action in order to give negotiations a chance to succeed. It has always been made clear 1st January was a deadline for making the changes. 

"All officers are still welcome to agree to the terms before 15th March or to take part in individual conciliation if they feel they are unable to live aboard for any reason.

"Nautilus’s response and claims of surprise are disingenuous at best given the Union’s statements on the topic since September. The Company urges Nautilus to calm the inflammatory rhetoric and focus on achieving the best outcome for the officers it represents."

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