12 Days Remaining

Friday 7th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

WOOLWICH Ferry workers are set to walk out later this month with fresh strikes in a long-running dispute over bullying and health and safety issues.

GMB and Unite members staged two of a planned 10 days of strikes on the service before forcing bosses back to the negotiating table.

But the unions say not enough progress has been made on serious points — including an alleged case of sexual harassment — so workers will have to mount two more 24-hour stoppages on April 18 and 21.

Around 3,500 vehicles a day use the free service, run by Briggs Marine Ltd on behalf of Transport for London, across the Thames, with an estimated two million passengers a year.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “The top managers are intransigent, evasive and prone to stalling.

“The investigation into the sexual harassment case is still ongoing, as is the probe into sending workers to work in exhaust fume-filled areas.”

Mr Kasab said workers poisoned by fumes were being subjected to “grossly unfair” sickness absence proceedings.

“We have worked very hard to reach a settlement on the myriad issues stemming from this dispute, so travellers would not face disruption. But the management’s negative attitude has left us with no alternative.”

GMB regional officer Clive Smith said: “GMB and Unite members went on strike because of a complete breakdown in trust with the management.

“Talks since have failed to stop a prevailing culture of indifference to both health and safety and staff concerns: a culture that needs to change as a matter of urgency.

“Staff now feel only industrial action will get this message home.”