Steam Packet officers who are members of the Nautilus International Union could potentially undergo strike action.

The union has written to Manx Sea Transport Guernsey Limited (MSTG), which employs seafarers working for the Steam Packet, to officially inform the company that it will be balloting members.

Nautilus entered a dispute with Manx Sea Transport on September 29 after it ‘threatened Nautilus members with fire and rehire if they did not accept new live onboard arrangements’.

The union said: ‘These would see members – some of whom have worked onboard IOMSPCo vessels for decades – lose up to 76 days per year with their families and loved ones.’

The letter to MSTG states: ‘It appears that your agents are planning on imposing unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of our members’ employment whilst persisting in refusing to engage in arbitration, contrary to clause six of the collective bargaining agreement between Nautilus International and your agents.

‘Despite significant efforts and talks seeking to resolve the dispute having taken place, no satisfactory resolution has yet been found.

‘This attempt to impose [live onboard] is despite the fact that there is no such term in the bargaining unit’s contracts of employment or the collective bargaining agreement between Nautilus International and the IOMSPC to force such a change.

‘To force this change would amount to a fundamental breach of the contracts of employment between MSTG and its impacted employees.’

Nautilus members at the Union’s General Meeting in October voted unanimously to show solidarity with those affected.

It has previously been reported that the company has made clear it will dismiss staff who refuse to sign up to its reintroduced live-on board policy.