The National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers (RMT) plans to ballot members working for Stena Ferries, demanding the reinstatement of a company sick pay scheme.
Stena bosses scrapped sick pay, meaning workers only had access to Statutory Sick Pay, of less than £100 per week, for periods of sickness and self-isolation during the pandemic. Stena now plans to reintroduce some company sick pay, but on a reduced basis to the previous scheme. Stena has also cut 200 jobs during the pandemic.
An RMT statement said: “A matter of days after the UK Government’s first lock down began on 24 March 2020 Stena Line announced that the company sick pay scheme for seafarers and port staff, agreed with the recognised trade unions, would be scrapped. Stena Line workers forced to self-isolate and those who contracted the disease were faced with trying to live on Statutory Sick Pay rather than the superior scheme previously agreed with the employer.
“Stena Line has also offered loans to staff forced to self-isolate on SSP, adding to key workers’ long terms debts. And some ferry crew were unsure if they would even be able to claim SSP, the legal minimum, due to the extra complexities caused by Stena Line’s decision to register their new Irish Sea fleet in Cyprus.”