Unite ballots Woolwich Ferry staff over strike motion

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A union is balloting members over strike motion on the Woolwich Ferry amid allegations of “victimisation”.

Unite introduced the vote to take industrial motion on the Thames crossing, which hyperlinks North Woolwich and Woolwich, on April 7.

The poll of 57 Unite members – which runs from April 14 to 29 – follows a declare by bosses that a union rep did not take care of an oil spill on board, which he denies.

A disciplinary listening to on April 7 resulted within the employee being issued with a warning and the lack of his function as captain. He was accused of not motivating colleagues to take care of the spill, in accordance with the union.

Unite mentioned a second employee, who can also be a member of Unite, has had his shifts modified so that they conflict together with his duties as a carer.

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Employees additionally allege there’s a failure to agree a brand new pay and reward scheme; “extreme” use of company workers; and “insufficient” well being and security coaching to new staff.

Transport for London (TfL) took over operation of the ferry from Briggs Marine Contractors, following disputes in 2017 and 2019.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab mentioned: “Sadly, we’re experiencing a Groundhog Day state of affairs on the Woolwich Ferry.

“We welcomed the takeover by TfL. Nonetheless, we’re very disenchanted that we’re as soon as once more within the place of holding a poll for strike motion – we anticipated higher of TfL administration.

“No union can stand by whereas its consultant is victimised.

“It’s a basic precept that our members perceive – when staff come ahead to face as union representatives, bravely placing their heads above the parapet, they are going to have the total help of the union, utilizing each means at our disposal, together with industrial motion.

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“Nonetheless, we’re eager to interact constructively with TfL administration in the course of the poll course of so we are able to resolve these excellent points and make sure the Woolwich Ferry could be operated in a trend that really advantages the customers and the workforce.”

A TfL spokesperson mentioned: “We’re working with Unite to resolve this problem as quickly as doable.”

Earlier than the pandemic about 20,000 automobiles per week and a pair of.6million passengers a yr have been utilizing the free service throughout the Thames, in accordance with Unite.

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