Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Wightlink ferry RMT members in strike ballot over sacking

Wightlink ferry
Image caption Staff on Wightlink's Portsmouth to Isle of Wight routes will vote on strike action

Union members on a cross-Solent ferry service are to be balloted for strike action over the dismissal of a trade union representative.

Wightlink's Isle of Wight to Portsmouth staff will vote over the gross misconduct dismissal of Paul Kelly.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said Mr Kelly was sacked over "trumped up charges".

Wightlink said it was disappointed at the ballot because an internal appeal by the worker is still ongoing.

The RMT union said Mr Kelly had led a campaign against new rosters and had highlighted management deficiencies.

The union accused a local manager of "bulldozing through a dismissal on the grounds of the most minor of infringements".

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: "Once again RMT finds itself having to defend an elected and accredited union representative, whose only real crime is to continually defend the members he represents, regularly challenging the company and ensuring all agreements are followed correctly."

The ferry firm said: "Wightlink is disappointed by the decision of the RMT to hold a ballot for industrial action... whilst the internal appeal process is still ongoing.

"Wightlink has a duty to maintain the highest standards of health and safety, for both staff and passengers, and therefore regrets that the RMT considers it appropriate to take this action."