The Workers Party of Britain denounces the treatment meted out to workers on the Woolwich Ferry by Transport for London (TfL) and welcomes the decision by workers to press on with strike action in the New Year.
TfL has only been back in charge of Woolwich Ferry since last January, taking over from an outsourcing contractor called Briggs Marine Contractors which left under a cloud, accused of failing to pay all its employees the London living wage. But rather than take this opportunity to put the house in order, TfL compounded the contractor’s mismanagement by its own cavalier attitude towards industrial relations.
Woolwich Ferry workers have long been protesting about TfL’s abject failure to come up with a decent pay award, one that takes into account the fact that the RPI rate of inflation now stands at 7.1 per cent. Workers also complained about the absence of proper health and safety training for new employees, essential for the safety of ferry workers and the travelling public alike. But sooner than deal honestly with these and other pressing issues, management opted to go down the union-busting road. First they sought to divide and weaken the workforce by importing agency labour, and now they have suspended seven workers without explanation, two of them Unite reps.
Originally the strikes were planned to start on 3 January, but teething problems over new technology have forced the suspension of the ferry service for at least two weeks, so strikes have been suspended pending resumption of services. The plan then is to carry on with the strikes until the end of March.
The Workers Party of Britain congratulates the ferry workers for taking this stand in defence of their welfare and rights and calls for the immediate reinstatement of the seven victimised workers.