The Steam Packet’s managing director claims union representatives have asked for a 50% pay rise for staff.

Managing director Brian Thomson also said that Nautilus negotiators requested a 10-week holiday allowance for employees.

But the union has called the comments ‘misleading’, saying that requests were ‘never part of any formal proposal’ put to the company.

The Steam Packet is currently embroiled in a row with the union over proposed changes to working conditions which would see staff live on board its vessels for up to two weeks and work a watch system.

However, workers represented by maritime union Nautilus International have rejected the new terms and despite two years of negotiations between the two parties, an agreement is still yet to be struck.

The Steam Packet recently submitted a final offer to the union, warning members they had 30-days to accept the new terms of risk their work contracts being terminated.

In an interview with the Manx Independent, Mr Thomson, who has been managing director of the company since July 2021, said: ‘Certain members of Nautilus have said that they’re not living on board no matter what, which puts us in a tough position as this has always been the plan for the company over the last four or five years with the introduction of the Manxman.

‘I have seen Nautilus comment about how certain members are concerned about not seeing their families, when half of the members who have refused to live on board don’t actually live in the Isle of Man and have asked the company to put them into hotels.’

In a statement released by the Steam Packet last week, a spokesperson for the company said that union members had been offered a ‘generous package’ alongside the new living on board contract terms, which Nautilus were quick to disregard by explaining the company had ‘only offered £6.85 extra per day’.

When asked about this, Mr Thomson said: ‘In actual fact, Nautilus asked for 10 weeks holiday and a 50% pay rise. This isn’t possible.’

Mr Thomson expects the consultation period to end without an agreement, but said: ‘We continue to look for compromises and we are confident it won’t disrupt our operations in the long term.

‘We are constantly looking at contingency plans in the event that this does escalate further.’

In response to Mr Thomson’s comments, a Nautilus International spokesperson said: ‘It’s disappointing to see further misleading claims from Steam Packet Company whilst they continue to push ahead with a heavy-handed imposition of terms and conditions that are detrimental to our members free time and family lives.

‘Requesting ten weeks holiday and a 50% pay rise were never part of any formal proposal from Nautilus.

‘We would encourage Mr Thomson and the Steam Packet to end their threat of fire and rehire and spend their time engaging in meaningful discussions with us to avoid any potential disruption.’