Strikes affecting the island’s only vehicular ferry service could cause major disruption over the traditionally busy Labour Weekend holiday. Photo Merrie Hewetson


Update: First Union representatives took an offer from Sealink management to their members on Wednesday afternoon. The workers voted to accept the deal and cancel the strike planned to run between 20 and 24 October.


Sealink services could be cancelled or limited over Labour Weekend, according to a notice posted on the car ferry operator’s website last weekend. 

Workers are threatening to strike if their wage demands are not settled. First Union, which represents a large portion of the company’s staff, is negotiating with the company and management and union representatives were scheduled to meet on Tuesday 11 October. The outcome of the meeting would not be known until after Gulf News went to press.

First Union organiser Justin Wallace says there is a widening pay gap between the Sealink workers and those at other companies in the industry. Fullers, for example, has raised its pay rates in order to retain and recruit more staff and many Sealink employees feel their loyalty in sticking with the company is not being fully appreciated.

“It’s a high-skilled and, in some respects, dangerous job, with responsibility for getting both freight and passengers [across the Gulf] safely,” Wallace says. “[But] we’ve got members at lower rates than are being offered by Fullers for people with less years of service [and experience].”

To be fair to Sealink, Wallace says, the company has been proactive about entering mediation and not drawing things out or bringing in other workers to disrupt the union like some do. But after more than three months of back and forth, talks had run aground.

Full story in this week’s Gulf News … Out Now!!!

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