Rushen MHK Michelle Haywood has said that Steam Packet bosses should ‘hang their heads in shame’ after the company served notices to members of staff just days before Christmas.

Staff were reportedly sent letters on Friday, December 22, informing them that they would lose their jobs unless they ageed to new terms and conditions as part of the company’s plan to implement a ‘live aboard’ policy for all employees working on the ferry firm’s new flagship vessel The Manxman.

In a statement online, Ms Haywood said: ‘Who on earth signed off on sending out these letters at 5.08pm on a Friday just three days before Christmas?

‘Negotiations in good faith by both sides should be of paramount importance, and whoever sanctioned sending that email last thing on a Friday should be apologising and considering their position.’

MHK for Douglas North, John Wannenburgh, added ‘The ill-timed letters defy any logic and are deeply disturbing.

‘How this could ever have been considered, let alone chosen to be the appropriate course of action, is beyond me, and must be fully explained, be it from the Steam Packet management or from government.’

Rob Callister, MHK for Onchan, also described the news as ‘very poor timing on the part of the Steam Packet’.

A protest against the Steam Packet’s actions was initially meant to take place outside the Sea Terminal in Douglas yesterday (Wednesday, December 27) but was postponed until the New Year due to poor weather.