450 laid off at Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries has confirmed that 450 crew members have been laid off on the three services that were suspended yesterday.

A small number of crew - 76 - are being retained - to provide care and essential maintenance on each of the three vessels whilst they are out of service.

The balance of the company¹s 778 crewing staff is employed on the company's Dublin - Holyhead cruise ferry ( Ulysses ) service which continues to operate.

Irish Ferries claim that the suspension of their Rosslare - Pembroke, Rosslare - Cherbourg and Dublin - Holyhead fast ferry services follows from the continued refusal of the Seamen's Union of Ireland to engage with SIPTU in joint negotiations with the company.

The recommendation that both trade unions should engage in joint negotiations with the company was made by the Irish Labour Court following their hearing of the issues involved.

Irish Ferries has been attempting to engage in a process since mid-2003 to reduce costs.

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