Protesters step up campaign in low wages battle at Portsmouth International Ferry Port

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PROTESTERS demanding a ferry company pays overseas workers the minimum wage is making its fight international.

About 60 activists from around the UK gathered at Portsmouth International Ferry Port yesterday to express their anger at Condor Ferries paying Ukrainian crew just £2.35 an hour.

They handed leaflets to foot passengers who stopped to talk to them and explained to car passengers why they were there as they headed to the Channel Islands. Unionists say the ferry operator is using legal loopholes to pay Ukrainian crew well below the UK minimum wage.

Mick Stubbs, RMT shipping branch chairman, was at the protest, and said: ‘We had people join us from as far north as Aberdeen, Glasgow, the north east, then Brighton, London and Belfast.

‘We’re making more and more contacts worldwide and the Australian Seamen’s Union has pledged its support now as well.’

He added: ‘The owners of Condor, the Macquarie Group, are based in Australia, and they’ve said if we were wanting to take the fight to their doorstep, they would help us out.

‘We had a good response from people at the ferry port, most were willing to listen and many said they had no idea this was happening.’

A spokesman for Condor Ferries had previously said only 14 out of 50 Ukrainian-recruited crew earned the entry-level pay rate, those with specialist skills were paid higher, and all get comprehensive medical cover, food and lodgings.