UNION members staged a two-hour protest outside Portsmouth’s ferry port over claims Condor Ferries pays its foreign workers less than the minimum wage.
The Portsmouth Trades Council (PTC) and the Southampton shipping branch of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) held a demonstration at the continental ferry port on Saturday.
They say the ferry company uses a legal loophole to pay its foreign workers £2.35 an hour.
A PTC spokesman said: ‘The RMT and Trades Council do not object to the employment of foreign nationals, but they must get the same pay and time off as UK seafarers in UK workplaces.’
PTC was calling on members of the public and trade unionists to join them in protesting against the loophole, which they say other shipping companies also take advantage of.
Ken Soar, managing director of Condor Ferries, said: ‘Condor Ferries is a diligent and concerned employer and we take care that all our employees are trained to the highest standards, work in safe conditions and receive competitive wages.
‘90% of our crew are from the EU and paid accordingly, however a small minority of crew who live aboard our conventional freight ferries are recruited from Ukraine. The rate of pay referred to only applies to the entry level crew members and we are concerned that the situation is being distorted for political reasons.’