Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/800/18224
Striking seafarers make gains
A solidarity demonstration organised by the transport union RMT took place at Portsmouth ferry terminal on 18 February to support striking deck crew who had organised a sit-in on board the Condor Ferry 'Rapide' in St Malo.
Condor are notorious for their super-exploitation of crews, paying just £2.35 an hour for 12 hour shifts.
Local RMT seafarer Kevin asked: "As an unemployed seafarer in Portsmouth how can I take a job at £2.35 an hour?"
Mark Carden, RMT seafarer rep, speaking at the demonstration explained: "We are here to support French seafarers fighting for the same rights as any other seafarer in France.
"Social dumping is a sustained attack on terms and conditions. The RMT has been fighting this for two years, now is an opportunity to escalate this issue and mobilise support for the campaign."
Condor ferries are owned by Australian banking group McQuarrie, which also owns Wightlink ferries that are run from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight.
Wightlink ferries are run with workers receiving proper pay and conditions. Why are Condor able to get away with this exploitation? It is no accident that RMT is well-organised and recognised at Wightlink.
The strike action ended on 21 February after two weeks, with management conceding to some of the strikers' demands.
In The Socialist 26 February 2014:
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