Woolwich Ferry strike planned for next week

Woolwich Ferry workers are set to strike for five days over pay. 

The Unite union has announced the stoppage will be from Monday until Friday after 87 per cent of the workers who took part in the ballot voted for strike action. 

The union has accused Transport for London (TfL) of refusing to discuss a pay deal for 2022 and has further complaints about the alleged victimisation and unfair suspension of some workers on the service.  

Unite claims the operators have also refused to discuss what it says is an over-reliance on agency workers and alternative working arrangements. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “TfL has squandered the time it had to reach a resolution with the workforce.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for the ferry service to refuse to discuss improving pay in the middle of a cost of living crisis. 

“The workers will begin strike action next week and they have the union’s rock solid support. The sooner TfL bosses realise that they must put forward a genuine proposal to end this dispute the better.”  

The troubled ferry operation has been plagued by poor employment relations for years, first with the previous operator Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd and now with TfL which has led to more than 30 days of strike action during 2021. 

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This dispute clearly proves that regardless of the political colours worn by the employer we will steadfastly support our members.

“Unite is determined to focus on the workplace and take the necessary action to win fair pay and to defend workers.” 

A TFL spokeswoman said: “We continue to seek a resolution with Unite and hope to achieve this as soon as possible.”

The free service across the Thames opened in 1889 following the abolition of tolls across bridges to the west of London. There has been a ferry in place at the site since the 14th century. 

Pictured above: One of the old ferries crossing the Thames at Woolwich (Picture: Wikimedia Commons / calflier001)

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