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Yann Ferries

Ferry pay row

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This is Plymouth 19:16 25 March 2004:

 

Brittany Ferries management and employees are locked in a bitter dispute over sick pay and health benefits which could end in a mass employment tribunal.

 

Up to 70 staff have been affected by the firm's decision to withdraw a private health benefit from some employees and end sick pay for the first three days of illness.

 

Union leaders say there was no proper consultation, a breach of the Employments Relations Act 1999.

 

The firm employs 180 staff at Millbay Docks, mostly in its

reservations call centre.

 

The TGWU says it has tried to set up a meeting with Brittany Ferries bosses, but they have so far declined.

 

The union now says unless employers give ground within the next week or so, it will begin proceedings for a mass employment tribunal for the

60 to 70 workers affected.

 

Dave Springbett, TGWU regional industrial organiser, said the union's office had been inundated with calls from angry employees but managing director David Longden had rejected requests for a meeting.

 

He said: "Our people have raised a grievance and asked to be represented by the trade union and nothing has happened. I've written to Brittany Ferries to say that unless they answer, they may end up with

multiple tribunal claims."

 

One worker, who asked not to be named, said staff were prepared to go to a tribunal.

 

She said: "People are incensed and outraged, and they feel betrayed.

We're very loyal to the company; we work hard and we don't ask very much, but the way we have been treated is despicable."

 

Brittany Ferries says staff who want to remain in the private medical scheme must give up a new profit-related bonus - which could also affect future salary reviews. It claims ending sick pay for the first three

days is a bid to tackle absenteeism.

 

It says the changes to conditions of employment are minor and it is not contractually required to give notice.

 

A spokesman said it was an internal matter on which the company would not comment.

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Re:Ferry pay row

 

BF have always been more interested in their ships than their staff. They manage to keep many Plymouth staff because of the high unemployment rate in the West Country. Fact is, they would never get away with this kind of thing in France!

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