Pending Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd strike suspended after last minute move by management opens process of negotiations

Strike action was due to commence four days a week but has been suspended to allow the company and the Department for Infrastructure to come to an agreed position

Ferry workers voted for strike action with a 85 percent majority after three years of a pay freeze

Unite the union has suspended pending strike action on the ferry service between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island after a last minute move by management which allowed a negotiated position. The strike was due after a ballot of ferry workers which returned a 85 percent mandate in pursuit a cost of living pay increase after three years of a pay freeze.

With retail price inflation at 14.6%, another year’s pay freeze would amount to a real-terms pay cut of more than a one-seventh of their wage.

The suspension of the strike will provide some relief to the Rathlin Island community who faced a severe impact with the loss of a ferry service.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham expressed her support for the workers:

“The Rathlin Island Ferry employers are on the very eve of taking strike action. Why? Because they haven’t had a pay-rise for three years.

“They’re caught in a vice between their employers and the cost of living crisis. If necessary, Unite will support our members for as long as it takes. So it’s time for Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd to put a decent offer on the table.”

Regional officer for the workforce, Brenda Stevenson, called on employers to address the workforce pay claim.

“The Rathlin Island Ferry workers perform a vital role in sustaining a community and the economy of Northern Ireland’s largest offshore island. It is scandalous that they have not received any increase to their pay since 2019. The employer must make an improved pay offer for the current year to end any prospect of strike action.

“They should be under no illusions: our members need to see a genuine cost of living pay increase or they will be going to the gate. They will accept nothing less.”

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