UK shipping union RMT has joined forces with its sister union Nautilus to fight against a new ferry service between the Isle of Man and Liverpool, which will undercut the local Steam Packet ferry.
Ellan Vannine Line, owned by Sea Alliance, intends to use low-cost foreign crews and flag of convenience ships in order to bring down prices and improve customer service in launching a freight service this year and a passenger service in April 2014.
The unions noted that the new service will undermine services, jobs and working conditions on the lifeline Steam Packet operation, and put over 300 fairly paid and rewarded jobs in jeopardy. RMT has asked the UK and Manx governments to bring in new controls to prevent the unfair competition.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that no one should underestimate the scale of the latest threat to services, jobs and working conditions that is posed by this latest aggressive attempt to undermine the Isle of Man Steam Packet.
"This is not the first time scavengers have attempted to exploit this lifeline ferry route and they will be met with the stiffest possible joint resistance from the trade unions and the local community where the decent jobs and conditions on the Steam Packet are an integral part of the local economy," Crow added.
RMT national secretary Steve Todd said: "Once again the vultures are hovering over the Isle of Man Steam Packet and once again they are mobilising to fight them off."
"This is an action replay of the failed Mezeron operation which relied on flagged-out ships and an exploited, overseas workforce to try and take out the Steam Packet and the highly valued service it provides to the Island community. The political, public and industrial fight starts now," Todd added.