Socialist Worker

New ferry strikes over bosses’ rotten offer

by Sam Ord
Issue No. 2768

Woolwich Ferry workers on strike in May

Woolwich Ferry workers on strike in May (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Woolwich Ferry workers in London have launched more strikes after talks with Transport for London bosses broke down.

Unite union members have struck for 26 days in support of two victimised union reps. And there has also been a failure to agree a new pay and reward scheme.

In January last year TfL took over the ferry service from Briggs Marine Contractors. Many hoped this would improve workers’ ­conditions. But they have gone from bad to worse.

Since TfL took over it has used more agency staff and has failed to provide adequate health and safety training to new employees.

Before lockdown restrictions were implemented at the start of 2020 about 20,000 vehicles a week were using the free service across the Thames.

The union also claims that the workers’ recent saving of a drowning person and the identification of a missing person shows that the service they provide is invaluable.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said, “We were making good progress with the union agreeing to a proposal from TfL to meet through workshops to discuss a new collective agreement.

“However, the employers made their pay offer which was worse than the last offer.

“Our members feel that they have been badly let down by another abject example of TfL’s bad faith and as a result, they are back on strike today.

“Strikes into the autumn are very much on the cards.”


The Unite union has raised concerns over Transport for London’s (TfL) pension review. It fears that the government could have plans to privatise the London Underground.

Grant Shapps, the ­transport secretary said the recent bailout of TfL is ­conditional on its pension fund being reviewed.

Unions fear that pensions will be slashed. It could also encourage private bidders hoping to make profit from London’s Underground.


The RMT union has demanded that the head of the safety regulatory body acts as East Midlands Railways risk lives during weekly Sunday strikes.

Senior conductors and train managers on East Midlands Railways are continuing their strikes in two separate disputes over pay, contracts and safety.

The union is compiling a dossier of safety breaches as the company employs strikebreakers to try and undermine the rail workers.


ScotRail workers in the RMT union continue striking weekly for justice as Abellio seeks to punish them with a pay freeze.

Workers remain ­resilient in their fight despite bosses’ threats. They have been taking action for six months with regular ­walkouts on Sundays.


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