Ferry workers claim they are not on strike as talks go on
FERRY staff have said they are "not on strike" and want to return to work but have been told by directors at Brittany Ferries to stay at home.
But a spokesperson for Brittany Ferries told The Herald it was "absurd" for workers to say they are not strike when they haven't accepted the companies latest proposal.
Christelle, a hostess for Brittany Ferries, who works on the Caen to Portsmouth service, said staff only went on strike for 24 hours last Friday to show they were "unhappy" and that they reached a unanimous decision to return to work the following day.
She said: "The directors wrote to us last Saturday telling us to get off the boats. I haven't been paid since last Friday and I'm basically losing money for a lock-out being carried out by Brittany Ferries, not by the workers.
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"We are not on strike. We want to work and to be paid."
She said the only reason the strike was carried out last Friday was because Brittany Ferries' directors had failed to listen to what union workers had to say during a meeting that took place the same day.
But the spokesperson for Brittany Ferries said: "On September 13 there was a 24 hour strike on the Armorique and as a result the directors sat with the trade unions and negotiated an agreement that discussions would take place to resolve the issue and that an agreement would be in place by October 1.
"One condition was that there would be no further strike action until October 1 but they reneged on that deal by striking on September 21.
"The strike spread to other ships which was when the managers decided to cancel services as we could not tolerate any more 24 hour strikes with virtually no notice because of the havoc it caused our passengers.
"To say the crew are not on strike and barred from work is a gross distortion of the facts – they were cancelled as a result of the strike action until the dispute is resolved.
"It is absurd to say they are not on strike and nonsensical to suggest they can return to work until such time the situation is resolved and an agreement is in place."
He confirmed that staff had not been paid since last Friday.
Christelle also claimed that staff who were still onboard ships had been forced to fish from the side of the boats to feed themselves after ferry managers padlocked fridges and locked the kitchens.
The Brittany Ferries spokesperson said: "During the first 24 hours of the strike the staff weren't being fed or given access to the fridges, then as talks were going well, the decision was made to feed them and they have been fed since last Saturday."