Fishery workers begin five-day strike over pay dispute

Vessels have docked in various ports as 80 crews employed by Marine Scotland take part in the action.

Fishery workers from begin five-day strike over pay dispute with Marine Scotland iStock

Fishery protection workers in Scotland have started a five-day strike in a dispute over pay.

Vessels have docked in various ports as 80 crews employed by Marine Scotland take part in the action.

It comes after talks between union officials and the Scottish Government agency Marine Scotland failed to reach an agreement, following a proposed 2% pay rise.

“All the ships are out now until Friday.” said Peter Tipping, a crew member with the Marine Protection Vessel Jura, which arrived in Kirkwall today.

“Nobody wants to strike, we’re hoping we can get a better deal out of it – closer to inflation or we’re just going to be worse off year on year.

“If we can get a decent offer then we’re happy to get back to work.”

Sandy Smart of Unite the Union, which represents the workers, said the pay increase was unacceptable.

“Rather than continue talking to us and trying to resolve the issue, they were going to impose the pay offer,” he added.

“That really didn’t help – we advised them not to do it, and told them if they did that we would have no option but to look at taking legal advice and we would potentially end up with industrial action.

“That’s exactly what’s happened.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “A number of constructive meetings have taken place between Marine Scotland and Unite and a number of options have been explored in order to resolve the dispute.

“While we have not been able to reach an agreed way forward to date, we remain committed to further dialogue to resolve these matters.

“Clear guidance and a Q&A was issued to staff ahead of this week’s scheduled action to allow people to make the necessary preparations and ask questions. Contingency plans have been made to ensure vessels can berth in suitable ports to allow staff to take strike action.

The seafarers plans to raise their dispute with MSPs on Thursday, at a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament.

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