Nautilus International has written to Manx Sea Transport Guernsey Limited (MSTG), which employs seafarers working for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPCo), to officially inform the company that it will be balloting members on industrial action.
Nautilus entered a dispute with Manx Sea Transport on 29 September 2023 after it threatened Nautilus members with fire and rehire if they did not accept new live onboard arrangements. These would see members – some of whom have worked onboard IOMSPCo vessels for decades – lose up to 76 days per year with their families and loved ones.
Nautilus has worked hard to resolve the situation, including requesting third-party arbitration in accordance with the terms of its collective bargaining agreement, which executives at the company have refused.
The letter to MSTG states: ‘It appears that your agents are planning on imposing unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of our members’ employment whilst persisting in refusing to engage in arbitration, contrary to clause six of the collective bargaining agreement between Nautilus International and your agents.
‘Despite significant efforts and talks seeking to resolve the dispute having taken place, no satisfactory resolution has yet been found.
‘This attempt to impose [live onboard] is despite the fact that there is no such term in the bargaining unit’s contracts of employment or the collective bargaining agreement between Nautilus International and the IOMSPC to force such a change.
‘To force this change would amount to a fundamental breach of the contracts of employment between MSTG and its impacted employees.’
The Isle of Man’s industrial relations officer has also been informed about the ballot.
Nautilus members at the Union’s General Meeting in October voted unanimously to show solidarity with those affected.