WORKERS at Red Funnel could take industrial action over stalled pay negotiations.

Unite the Union has called for a 16 per cent pay increase for staff, while the ferry operator is offering a 4.5 per cent or 6.3 per cent salary increase depending on role.

Red Funnel is now expecting Unite to ballot its members - around 20 per cent of the workforce - on action.

It's understood no future action will happen before the Isle of Wight Festival.

Fran Collins, Chief Executive at Red Funnel, said: “We are disappointed that our pay offer, which is positively aligned with our wider industry, has been rejected.

"We continue to engage in discussions with Unite the Union regarding the pay claim for 2022 to secure a resolution and recognise our teams with a pay increase.

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“Within seven days' time, ballot papers will be issued to Unite the Union members – representing 20 per cent of Red Funnel colleagues.

"This ballot is to determine the members’ appetite for industrial action, which may or may not include strike action.

“The pandemic had an enormous impact on our revenues, and like many other businesses, we continue to face challenges particularly at a time when fuel costs are up 70 per cent.

"We are very proud of the work our colleagues undertake daily in connecting the Solent, and we’re keen to recognise their commitment and dedication.

"We are pleased that pay claims for all other colleagues have already been settled for 2022.

“We must make sustainable decisions so that we can continue to provide lifeline services for our loyal customers, keeping the Island connected and supplied. We are fully committed to doing all we can to ensure maximum travel choice and connectivity for island residents, visitors and businesses.”

Red Funnel said it tried to start pay negotiations in October last year ahead of bringing in an increase in salary by January.

But it said Unite the Union did not bring a 16 per cent pay claim until December.

Bosses at the ferry operator has made a 6.3 per cent offer for services assistants, customer advisors, stores operatives, cabin attendants and Signature Lounge assistants.

Other workers have been offered 4.5 per cent.

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