Red Funnel staff plan to walk out in the ongoing row over pay over 12 days in July and August – including Cowes Week and the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The first strike is due to take place on July 27 – just as children leave school for the summer holidays – followed by strikes on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 9th, 11th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 26th and 29th august.

Each strike will last 24 hours and if it goes as planned, key dates in the tourism calendar will be affected, including Cowes Week and the August Bank Holiday at the end of the month.

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The row over pay comes after Unite members demanded a 16 per cent pay rise in December last year, with talks ongoing since the Christmas period. It was announced last week that union members had voted in favor of the strike.

Red Funnel offered 6.3% for positions within the collective bargaining unit and 4.5% for all other positions, above many recent pay deals in the same industry. The cross-Solent operator says the compensation claim should have been settled by early 2022, so while the business is sensitive to current inflation levels, they are not relevant to this compensation claim.

Unite the Union members make up 20% of Red Funnel’s workforce, with around 120 employees ready to strike.

Unite Regional Manager Ian Woodland said:

“Our members don’t want to strike, but Red Funnel gave them no choice. Red Funnel’s treatment of its workforce is the reason Cowes and the Isle of Wight week-long summer holiday plans will be disrupted. There is still time to end this dispute before strikes occur, but Red Funnel must come back with an offer that meets the aspirations of our members.

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Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, said last week:

“I am extremely disappointed that the members voted to strike. Our priority, as always, is to ensure that the island stays connected and that we continue to provide the vital services that so many rely on.

“We have prepared robust contingency plans to ensure essential services are maintained and to minimize disruption as much as possible. We will post a revised schedule by Tuesday July 12 and contact all customers directly affected by any changes. We can confirm that customers with bookings between July 5 and July 19 will not be affected by industrial action.

“We would like to recognize and reward all colleagues, especially in these uncertain times, but we must be realistic in terms of what the company can afford to ensure that we continue to provide vital services to our customers, in fostering the long-term success of the Island Economy.

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Red Funnel is owned by the £11.5billion West Midlands Pension Fund and the £3.5billion Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario.

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