The company which runs the Woolwich Ferry has denied union claims of racism from one of its staff members.

Unite the Union has accused ferry operator Briggs Marine of failing to deal with issues of equality, after one of its managers reportedly used the word 'n*****' repeatedly.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab told News Shopper that a ballot went out yesterday (September 26) in a new dispute, which challenges Briggs Marine on issues including redundancies, pay, and equality.

Mr Kasab said: "The equalities issue relates to a managers repeated use of the word 'n*****'.

"We have two witness statements to back up the incidents. This of course follows previous strike action against sexual harassment."

Mr Kasab said that members had reported that a senior manager had made racist and offensive remarks, which was then reported.

He continued: "Not long after this, redundancies were announced.

"While they only impact on three people, one of them is a member of staff who reported the incident.

"The employer claims that the redundancies are in able to restructure to deal with the technical difficulties on the Ferry. Yet they only restructured less than a year ago creating the posts that are now to be made redundant. It is also ridiculous to blame the 3 staff for the technical difficulties as in fact it is nothing to do with them."

The ferry operator has been beset by strike action over the past year, with strikes held over a new shift system among other issues.

TFL and the GLA are both London Living Wage employers, which means that their contractors must do the same, however the Woolwich Ferry workers claim that Briggs is failing to pay LLW.

A spokesman from Briggs Marine told News Shopper: "We have very tight policies and procedures relating to equality and diversity and we have offered independent assessment of any accusations of ‘racial slurs’.

"Despite this, we have yet to see any evidence from Unite on the alleged behaviour.

"The company entirely complies with the London Living Wage. It has never complied and has no requirement to comply with a job evaluation scheme set out by Greenwich Council, which appears to be Unite’s stance although they have not elaborated on this matter to us.

"We urge Unite to join us in meaningful discussions on establishing productive industrial relations at the ferry, to quash its current needless ballot and to work with the Company to avoid disruption to the Travelling Public."

The saga continues.