Ferry company calls for ‘refocused’ attention on pay and conditions

A leading ferry company is urging the Government to “refocus” attention on improving pay and working conditions on the English Channel.

Brittany Ferries said ministers should drive forward a Seafarers’ Remuneration Bill.

The ferry company said it fears the state of the economy has pushed legislation off the Government’s priorities list.

Christophe Mathieu, chief executive of Brittany Ferries, said: “We welcomed former transport secretary Grant Shapps’ determination to drive up standards in the ferry sector and to set minimum wage requirements for ferry workers.

“Now we urge the new Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan to take up the baton with the same vigour.

“As a business we want a level playing field for all seafarers, but as a society we must not allow companies to behave without regard for the well-being of key workers.”

Brittany Ferries operates on the Western Channel, via Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth in the UK. It sails to five destinations in France and two in northern Spain.

The company operates under the French flag regulatory regime, which it says means strong wages and good working conditions for all its seafarers.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We take seafarer welfare seriously and we have a nine-point plan to improve their working conditions irrespective of flag or nationality, including changing the law to prevent employers undercutting wages.

“The Seafarers’ Remuneration Bill is a vital part of that plan and is currently progressing through Parliament.”