AS Red Funnel staff prepare to strike, here's a handy guide to what it's all about and how it will affect travellers.

Unite the Union members will be striking over several days this summer, starting tomorrow (Wednesday). 

When are the strikes happening?

Around 120 Red Funnel staff working on the Southampton to East Cowes route, will begin a 24-hour strike action tomorrow (Wednesday, July 27).

Further strikes are planned for August on 1, 3, 5 9, 11, 15, 17, 19, 23, 26 and 29.

The strikes will impact Cowes Week, which runs from July 30 to August 6, as well as the school summer holidays. 

How will the strikes affect the Red Funnel timetable?

Red Funnel has published timetable changes for its vehicle ferry service. They say the strike action involves up to 20 per cent of its workforce.

The Red Jet service, from Cowes to Southampton, is not affected.

What should Red Funnel customers do?

Red Funnel customer services teams are available to help passengers with questions about their travel arrangements at

Red Funnel says it has contacted passengers whose journeys are likely to be impacted.

Red Jet passengers should not be affected.

More questions nd answers can be found on the Red Funnel website

Unite the Union explain the reasons for strike action

They say Red Funnel staff must undergo sea training and are responsible for passenger safety, are often away from home for days at time and are only paid the hours they work onboard the ferry, with no overnight subsidies provided for food or other expenses.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Pay and out of pocket expenses are so bad at Red Funnel that staff are using food banks to survive.

"It’s horrendous, especially when workers doing the same jobs on the same stretch of water are earning nearly £4 an hour more."

She is comparing Red Funnel pay to that at Wightlink. 

She added: "There is no justification for Red Funnel and its owners, who have billions in the bank, to pay such disgraceful wages. Unite will fight them every step of the away until there is a decent pay offer.”  

Unite regional officer Ian Woodland said: “Red Funnel have the boats and they have routes on one of the most expensive stretches of water in the world.

"But their operations are crumbling because the company doesn’t invest in its ships and they don’t pay the rate for the job.

"It’s not normal work, there’s long shifts, time spent away from home and all staff are responsible for passenger safety in the event of an emergency. Wightlink recognises this, which is why their operations are not in such a shambles.” 

What has Red Funnel said about the strike action?

Fran Collins, chief executive, said: “It is incredibly disappointing that despite our ongoing conversations with Unite, and our desire to reward teams with a fair and reasonable pay increase, we are preparing for strike action tomorrow.

“Our priority is continuing to provide a lifeline service and ensure the Isle of Wight remains connected.

"This includes the transportation of fuel, medical supplies and food, and ensuring passengers can travel for work, education and essential medical appointments.

“We ask for kindness toward our dedicated teams at work during strike days, who are ensuring that customers can keep sailing under challenging circumstances.

"We have introduced robust contingency plans including the redeployment of colleagues across the business into key roles.

“We continue to engage with Unite in an effort to resolve this dispute as soon as possible.”

Are the trains also affected by strike action?

A planned national strike is affecting some train routes tomorrow but not Island Line.

Due to the national strike, SWR customers are urged only to travel by rail if absolutely necessary tomorrow (Wednesday). 

SWR will run a severely reduced timetable, with significant parts of the network closed.  

A severely reduced service will run between 07:15 and 18:30 on a limited number of routes for those who have no choice but to travel.  

Services will start much later than usual on Thursday with the first trains set to be very busy. 

More information is on