Nautilus International has welcomed a clarification from the Manx Industrial Relations Service, which has stated that arbitration is available in the current dispute between the Union and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPCo).
The dispute arose after the company threatened Nautilus members with fire and rehire if they did not accept fundamental changes to their employment conditions.
After two years of negotiations reached an impasse, Nautilus requested IOMSPCo to engage in independent arbitration as per the agreement between Nautilus and the company. IOMSPCo refused this request on the basis that there was no available arbitration on the Isle of Man.
Nautilus senior national organiser Garry Elliot said: 'This is a welcome clarification from the Manx Industrial Relations Service, which has said an independent arbitrator can be arranged.
'This should end any ambiguity on whether arbitration is available to IOMSPCo to resolve this dispute.
'Nautilus is ready to enter arbitration to bring this dispute to an end and avoid any disruption through potential industrial action.
'We hope IOMSPCo will reassess its previous refusal and agree to engage in this reasonable process with an independent arbitrator.'