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Condor silent on threats to block access to UK ports over low wages

Condor silent on threats to block access to UK ports over low wages

Monday 04 April 2022

Condor silent on threats to block access to UK ports over low wages

Monday 04 April 2022


Condor Ferries is refusing to say whether any of its workers earn less than the national or local minimum wage.

The UK Government says it wants ferry operators who employ or use workers who earn less than the national minimum wage to be denied access to British ports - initially through a voluntary scheme but ultimately by law.

Condor sails routes from the Channel Islands to Poole and Portsmouth, pictured top, and could therefore be required to comply with any such law or scheme.

In reply to questions from Express about whether the company is currently paying any worker below the minimum wage, a spokesman for Condor said it was "not looking to comment at this time".

Condor also refused to comment on questions from Express about whether the company would support legislation to require ferry operators to pay minimum wages and whether such legislation would cause the company commercial difficulties. 

Condor-Voyager1.jpg

Pictured: the Voyager, the most-recent addition to Condor's fleet.

Condor has previously faced challenges about how much it pays workers. 

As recently as 2018, the RMT union held a protest in Portsmouth at which it said it was "calling for an end to Condor paying poverty wages on their ships".

At the time, the RMT, drawing on contracts dating back to 2014, claimed that "Ukrainian seafarers working on a three-month contract with Condor have been paid £2.46 per hour for a 12-hour working day".

From 1 April, the UK national minimum wage is £9.50 per hour for most adults. The lowest legal rate for adults aged between 18 and 20 is £6.83 per hour. In Guernsey, the minimum wage for adults is £9.05 per hour. 

RMT_protest_against_sacking_of_800_PO_staff.jpg

Pictured: the RMT union protesting against the immediate dismissal last month of 800 workers by ferry operator P&O.

The UK Government's threat to block access to UK ports to operators paying less than the minimum wage follows outrage caused by ferry company P&O instantly sacking 800 staff on 17 March - in some cases by video call or text message.

However, Richard Ballantyne, the Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, said: "while it’s right the government and the ferry industry look to improve employment rules and standards, the expectation that port authorities will need to enforce minimum wage rules in the shipping sector could be unworkable.

"This will place ports in a difficult legal predicament, especially before any legislation is in place."

ferry_purchase_peter_ferbrache_condor.jpg

Pictured: Deputy Peter Ferbrache has said that his Policy & Resources Committee would like to buy a ferry to improve resilience on the Bailiwick's routes.

In January, the States' Policy & Resources Committee said it was in talks with Condor about potentially buying a ferry to be leased to the company and that it hoped to agree funding imminently.

No further developments have been announced since, but the President of the Committee, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, said recently that discussions on the matter were still ongoing.

READ MORE...

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WATCH: Sacked P&O staff were contracted through Jersey

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