Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Wightlink ferry strike over union rep's sacking to be reviewed

Wightlink ferry
Image caption Staff on Wightlink's Portsmouth to Isle of Wight routes are expected to walk out over Christmas

A planned Christmas strike by union members on a cross-Solent ferry service is set to be reviewed.

Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) staff on Wightlink's Isle of Wight to Portsmouth service voted to walk out Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

The ballot was held because of the dismissal of a colleague who is a trade union representative.

He has now been offered a job elsewhere and the RMT said the strike plans would be reviewed at a meeting on Monday.

Staff had decided to take action after the dismissal of Paul Kelly on "trumped-up charges", the union said.

Wightlink said he was sacked over a serious health and safety breach.

'Serious breach'

A spokesman for the RMT said the strike had not been called off and members reserved their right to still go ahead with the strike if necessary.

But he confirmed the threat had receded and a decision would be made on Monday.

If the strike goes ahead, RMT said its members would walk out for 24 hours from 00:01 GMT until 23:59 GMT on 24 December 2011 and again from 00:01 GMT until 23:59 GMT on 26th December 2011.

The union also said staff would not work any overtime or rest days from 24 December until further notice.

The ferry firm said Mr Kelly was dismissed for gross misconduct relating to a "serious breach of health and safety policy".

The RMT said Mr Kelly was involved in a minor incident over protective clothing but that the issue "suddenly escalated", resulting in his dismissal.

The union said Mr Kelly was sacked because he led a campaign against new rosters and had highlighted management deficiencies.

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