Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More talks, still no ferry - could "Yellow Pack" be on the cards?

The clock contines ticking as to whether we will have a passenger / freight ferry between Cork and Swansea next year as talks and tentative negotiations begin. Today's newspapers are reporting that the Port of Cork and Associated British Ports have agreed an incentive package to encourage an operator to sign up for the route which has been without a service for two years now.

There is no specific information as to what type of incentives would be on offer but much is made of the additional journey for freight through other routes and even the increased carbon dioxide levels due to the extra road freight is under scrutiny. A Port of Cork source is quoted in today's Irish Examiner as say that around 10,000 units (containers) a year were transported by the previous operator Swansea-Cork Ferries.

The Old Blog Cabin has strongly supported the return of a service on this route but we would not favour a "yellow pack" operator. It is not so long since more than 500 jobs were slashed by Irish Ferries who replaced unionised workers with low-paid migrant workers from Eastern Europe who had to settle for lesser pay and minimal conditions of employment due to EU law which facilitates this and which is even strengthened by the Lisbon Treaty which the Irish government and EU want to bring in by the back door having been democratically rejected by the Irish people in the June 12th referendum. It would be disingenuous of the Old Blog Cabin to support the International Transport Federation's campaign on "flags of convenience" and not take a stand on the cheap labour route for any ferry on the Cork-Swansea route. Once again we call for the local authorities in conjunction with government to take over the route themselves.

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