The RMT union has announced a series of strike dates for Wightlink staff as part of industrial action against proposed changes to their pension and flexible working practices.
As reported by News OnTheWight on Thursday, a ballot was held earlier this month in which members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action after, the RMT say, it became clear that Wightlink had offered “no commitment to withdraw either proposal”.
Wightlink plan to close the Defined Benefit Pension Scheme to existing members and withdraw their proposal to reintroduce the flexible working practices, which all employees were subject to in the first six months of the pandemic.
Cash: Staff “treated as cannon fodder”
The RMT say that Wightlink staff have “bent over backwards to help the company survive during this pandemic only to be treated as cannon fodder”.
General Secretary, Mick Cash, said,
“This union will not tolerate the contempt towards our members, the processes and legislation set up for good industrial relations. As a result of the company’s failure to recognise the ballot mandate and their failure to enter into meaningful discussions to resolve this dispute, the union’s National Executive Committee has instructed that the following strike action takes place.”
All Wightlink Ltd and all Wightlink (Guernsey) Ltd members are instructed NOT to book on for any shifts that commence between:-
- 00:01 hours on Friday 2nd April 2021 (Good Friday) to 23:59 hours on Monday 5th April 2021 (Easter Monday)
- 00:01 hours to 23:59 hours on Friday 28th May 2021 (Friday before bank holiday weekend)
- 00:01 hours to 23:59 hours on Monday 31st May 2021 (bank holiday)
- 00:01 hours on Friday 4th June 2021 to 23:59 hours on Sunday 6th June 2021
- 00:01 hours on Friday 11th June 2021 to 23:59 hours on Sunday 13th 2021
- 00:01 hours on Friday 18th June 2021 to 23:59 hours on Sunday 20th June 2021
- 00:01 hours on Friday 25th June 2021 to 23:59 hours on Sunday 27th June 2021
Available for talks
The RMT say they remain available for talks with Wightlink and is ready to enter into negotiations in order resolve the current dispute.
In addition, they are exploring all legal avenues in order to try and resolve this matter and have written to the company demanding that the CEO and Board Members are present at their next round of negotiations on 12th January 2021.
Wightlink: Disappointed strike dates announced while formal consultations are still underway
A spokesperson for Wightlink told News OnTheWight,
“Wightlink is consulting with its employees on how to protect jobs and ensure it survives the serious financial crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Very few people are now travelling and passenger numbers are unlikely to return to normal in the near future. Other companies in the transport sector have already announced redundancies and pay cuts as a response to the severe financial situation in 2020, which is continuing.
“Our proposal covers changes to pensions, including a doubling of company pension contributions for the majority of colleagues, and flexible working to help Wightlink become a more sustainable business. This proposal avoids compulsory redundancies or pay cuts.
“We are disappointed the RMT has announced strike dates later in the year while formal consultations are still underway. We are confident we will be able to reach agreement with the union on these issues in the coming weeks.”
4.50pm 8th Jan 2021 – Comment from Wightlink added