Public sector seafarers set to strike

Written by Tom Freeman on 2 August 2017 in News

Marine Scotland staff will strike later this month over comparable pay with CalMac after a "collapse in negotiations" with the Scottish Government

Fishing - Defra

Seafarers working for quango Marine Scotland are set to strike over pay, the trade union Unite has confirmed.

The decision comes after it emerged equivalent staff at publically-owned ferry operator CalMac earn more than their counterparts at Marine Scotland.

The union said there had been a "collapse in negotiations" with the Scottish Government to resolve the issue.


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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had previously pledged to look into the matter, yet a proposed £5,000 pay supplement to take into account comparable pay disparities was later cut to £3,000.

The Scottish Government said it would continue talks aimed to avert the industrial action, but Unite said the Scottish Parliament had backed a Labour amendment in December calling for a fair pay settlement.

Sandy Smart, Unite's regional industrial officer, said: “Our members do a difficult and dangerous job ensuring that the fishing grounds around Scotland are protected. We are very disappointed that things have got to this stage despite the Scottish parliament passing a motion to support a fair pay award.

"The first minister also pledged to look at this issue yet our members have been rewarded with a pay cut. Industrial action is always a last resort and even at this late stage we hope that we can reach a solution but this requires movement by Marine Scotland and the Scottish government to properly award the seafarers.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: "We wish to avert industrial action and will continue our discussions with Unite. It would be inappropriate to comment further while these discussions are underway."

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said: “Given the vote in parliament it is pretty sad that it has come to this. Seafarers and Marine Scotland work in difficult and dangerous conditions, protecting our seas, and have been given shoddy treatment by the Scottish government.

"This could and should have been sorted out months ago. We are now at the 11th hour and the Scottish government must act now to settle this.”

Marine Scotland operates five marine protection and research ships to protect seas and fisheries.

Two-day strike action is scheduled for 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 25 and 26 August.

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