NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Orkney ferry workers vote for industrial action

Orkney Ferry Image copyright Rob Burke
Image caption Unions say Orkney ferry workers are paid about 10% less than counterparts in other services.

Orkney ferry workers have voted to take industrial action as part of a long-standing pay dispute.

The vote was carried out by the seamen's union Nautilus International. They are seeking a 3.2% pay increase and an extra seven days of annual leave for members working for Orkney Ferries.

Independent research indicates they are paid about 10% less than those working for similar ferry companies.

The action will not include a strike and further negotiations are under way.

The RMT union announced similar action by its members in Orkney last month

National ferry organiser for Nautilus International Micky Smyth said: "We have attempted to resolve this matter amicably, but to no avail so far.

"We therefore urge the company to think very seriously about the emphatic results of this ballot and to revert with meaningful proposals to address the concerns of our members."

Orkney Islands Council said the industrial action "presents a considerable challenge" and that "there is the risk of service disruption".

A spokesperson added: "We remain committed to positive dialogue with the unions. But we have made clear we are unable to close the pay gap unless the council receives fair funding from the Scottish government for Orkney's internal ferries service, something which the council is continuing to work hard to achieve."

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