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United Kingdom

Union success in driving statutory recognition at Condor Ferries

23 October 2020

Maritime professionals working on Condor Ferries can now benefit from collective bargaining after winning statutory Union recognition with Nautilus International.

The Guernsey-based ferry operator had snubbed a voluntary recognition agreement with the Union following employee anger over hefty cuts to wages and planned job cuts in the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic.

It refused to enter discussions with Nautilus and rejected representation for maritime professionals being placed at risk of redundancy.

The Union made representations to the UK Government, and the governments of Jersey and Guernsey in seeking additional support for members, some of whom were paying UK tax, but received no response.

'In order to escalate the matter and to enforce the rights of our maritime professionals, a decision was made to commence application of Schedule A1 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, with the first formal stage of this being sent to the employer on International Workers Day 1 May 2020,' Nautilus strategic organiser Martyn Gray said.

Nautilus applied to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in June after making little progress in seeking a voluntary recognition agreement with Condor Marine Crewing Services. Statutory recognition was granted in September, pending an application for Judicial Review.

As Nautilus expected, Condor's challenge to the CAC's decision granting Union recognition, failed. The court did not even agree to hear it. 

'We are now looking forward to building industrial relations at Condor and in further representing our maritime professionals,' Mr Gray said.

Statutory recognition commits both parties to negotiate in good faith.

Early on in the pandemic, Condor's operations were heavily impacted by restrictions to travel implemented by the Governments of Jersey and Guernsey, with the company seeking swingeing cuts to seafarer wages that caused significant concern to Nautilus members, some of whom had their salary reduced by as much as 68%.

Talks between the Union and Condor representatives continue in establishing a suitable collective bargaining agreement and in developing good industrial relations with the company.