Extra post-Brexit ferries must have UK crews, demands union

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THE GOVERNMENT is being pressed to guarantee new ferry services aimed at easing pressure on Dover after Brexit will be crewed by UK seafarers.

Contracts worth more than £100m have been awarded to three firms to lay on additional crossings. Brittany Ferries is set to receive £46.6m to add 19 return sailings, including between Portsmouth and Le Havre. 

The leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union has written to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling seeking a series of assurances, saying: ‘This is a significant sum of public money and as such should be linked to employment opportunities and proper employment conditions.’

Mick Cash said there should be a requirement to apply employment law, including payment of the national minimum wage, ferries should be fully crewed by UK seafarers and there should be collective bargaining agreements with the RMT.

The decision to give Seaborne Freight £13m caused controversy as the company has no ferries, although the Transport Secretary said it was the government supporting new business.