Talks resolve Irish Ferries dispute

Irish Ferries sailings resumed today as a deal was reached with unions, ending the dispute that had halted all the company's services.

A deal was reached overnight during 20 hours of negotiations brokered by the Labour Relations Commission in Dublin.

The resumption of services follows the basis for agreement with SIPTU and the Seamen’s Union of Ireland regarding future crewing arrangements on Irish Ferries vessels.

In a statement welcoming the agreement reached, Irish Ferries thanked the Chief Executive and officials of the Labour Relations Commission for their "very strenuous efforts throughout the last week in helping to bring about this successful outcome" and expressed its "appreciation of the role played by the National Implementation Body".

Irish Ferries said it believed that the outcome reached was one which would enable the company to compete in the future.

Acknowledging the level of distress and inconvenience which the dispute had caused to its customers, for which the company extended its deepest apologies, Irish Ferries Chief Executive, Eamonn Rothwell said: “We are now committed to restoring full services as quickly as possible and to winning back the confidence of our passengers and freight clients.”

According to SIPTU Vice President, Brendan Hayes: "The Union has been successful in ensuring that the threshold of decency has been defended and that vulnerable migrant maritime workers have the protection of Irish law.

"The settlement terms will provide a framework for the protection of workers in the company and for the viable operation of the ferries business into the future.

"One of our key objectives was the payment of the Irish minimum wage and this has now been achieved."

Mr Hayes said that the protection of the terms and conditions of employment of Irish Ferries staff who wish to continue to work for Irish Ferries has been secured and that a redundancy offer will be reopened by the company.

He said: "Crewing ratios will now be substantially higher that those originally proposed and will guarantee reasonable periods of rest."

However, the union called on the Republic's government to enforce and enhance labour legislation.

The ferry operator announced normal services would be resumed as soon as possible, and Irish Ferries posted sailing schedules for:
  • Dublin / Holyhead: Swift Service - Ex Dublin, 12.15 hrs, Wednesday, 14th December; Ulysses - Ex Holyhead, 15.00 hrs, Wednesday, 14th December.
  • Rosslare / Pembroke: Isle of Inishmore - Ex Pembroke, Departure time to be advised.
  • Rosslare / Cherbourg: Normandy - Ex Cherbourg, 18.00 hrs, Thursday, 15th December.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil that he was pleased that an agreement had been reached in the dispute.


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