Woolwich Ferry workers vote to strike

87% vote in favour of strike action after TfL refuses to discuss pay as inflation reaches 12.3 per cent

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The actions of TfL (Transport for London) managers running the Woolwich Ferry service will once again lead to industrial action on the Thames. TfL managers are refusing to discuss pay in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

87% of the workers who took part in the ballot voted for strike action. The workers’ representatives will meet next week to discuss strike dates.

The workers currently face a toxic combination of an employer refusing to discuss a pay deal for 2022, and management victimising and unfairly suspending workers on the service.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, said, “Workers on the Woolwich Ferry are not prepared to be bullied and treated with contempt. They have voted for strike action because there is a cost of living emergency but bosses won’t even discuss pay for this year.

“There is a short window of opportunity for TfL to reach an agreement before the union announces strike dates. The workers can rest assured that they have their union’s complete backing.”

The troubled ferry operation has been plagued by poor employment relations for years, first with the previous operator Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd and now with TfL which has led to more than 30 days of strike action during 2021.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab added, “TfL managers on the ferry service have learnt nothing after more than 30 days of strike action. Now the employer’s actions have caused another vote for industrial action.

“Bosses of the ferry service need to discuss pay and they need to put an end to the bullying and victimisation. Our members will not accept this poor treatment.”

The free service across the Thames opened in 1889, following the abolition of tolls across bridges to the west of London. There has been a ferry in place at the site since the 14th century.

By Ciaran Naidoo

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