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Maritime union vows ‘retribution’ on Sydney harbour cruise and ferry operators

The Maritime Union of Australia has vowed to seek “retribution” against two of Sydney harbour’s largest cruise operators after they stood down more than 100 workers, but the companies say business has almost entirely dried up because of the coronavirus.

The union said 50 casuals had stopped getting shifts at the NRMA-owned Manly Fast Ferry and Fantasea Cruises, and also claimed about 130 staff with Captain Cook Cruises had been “terminated” this week.

Customers board a Manly Fast Ferry in 2015. The NRMA-owned company is still operating but has stood down casual workers this week because of coronavirus-related shutdowns.

Customers board a Manly Fast Ferry in 2015. The NRMA-owned company is still operating but has stood down casual workers this week because of coronavirus-related shutdowns.Credit:Ben Rushton

However, Captain Cook Cruises said permanent staff had only been asked to take leave while some casuals were stood down. “No staff have been terminated or made redundant,” a spokesman said.

The Watsons Bay, Lane Cove and Manly Fast Ferry services operated by the two companies remain open, but the broader stand downs mark a quietening of the harbour.

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