Just when you thought that the capricious, gilded buffoons that control the destiny of the Queen Elizabeth 2 could not be any more callous or mendacious, word surfaces from the shackled liner that her skeleton maintenance crew have not been paid for two months.
The crew is now effectively on strike, as of May 15th this year.
Forty eight men remain on board the one time Cunard flagship. Twenty of them were due to leave the ship two months ago, but Oceanic Group- the front organisation for original buyers, Nakheel- have not paid for the airline tickets.
At present, there are forty two Ukrainian deck and engine staff on board, and a six man galley and house cleaning team from Myanmar.
God alone knows what the Ukrainians stranded aboard the QE2 are going through right now, with the volatile situation in their own country at present. It is not even clear whether they have the ability to contact relatives and friends back at home. Combine that with the indifference of the owners towards all on board, and it is to be marveled at that this has not got far uglier.
All of this has to be seen in context against the backdrop of two things.
The first is the continuing efforts of this small band of men to keep the QE2 as clean, safe and secure as is humanly possible, against increasingly stark odds. And now we know with just what respect, courtesy and consideration their obscenely rich employers view those efforts.
Second, the endless stream of misinformation, bombast and simple, lengthy periods of silence that the paladins of Oceanic Group have maintained from the Olympian heights of their collective egos.
All of this- indifference on the part of the owners, and the perfectly understandable withdrawal of labour by a crew pushed way beyond the brink of anything even remotely acceptable- has combined to put the QE2 in more real- and immediate- danger than anyone at Oceanic Group can either excuse or justify.
Is there anybody with an IQ in excess of one that cannot see the true crime here?
Responsibility rests solely, totally and undeniably on the shoulders of Oceanic Group. If not for the efforts of Louis Da Sousa, none of this would have come to light at all.
Lies, prevarication and a totally insular, cavalier attitude have typified their actions from day one. Whatever good will they once might have garnered has long since evaporated.
And now, having hopelessly betrayed, abused and disgraced the memory of one of the greatest maritime icons in history, the same company has now betrayed, short changed and abused the small handful of dedicated men who have fought so valiantly, against a tidal wave of disinterest and disrespect, to keep the QE2 in some semblance of working order.
Disgraceful and disgusting does not even begin to cover it. And, if any of us needed final confirmation, these recent actions tells us everything we need to know about the mentality of those who hold the power of life and death over our ship.
My thoughts, prayers and good wishes go to those still stranded on board the QE2 in Dubai. They are, effectively, hostages. Nothing less.
Reports from on board the QE2 today state that the crew have been paid the wages owed to them for the month of March but not, as yet, for their work in April. It appears that seven of the twenty men due to leave will be flying back home ‘soon’- whatever that means- and the other thirteen will go ‘later’.
Any relevant updates will, needless to say, appear here. Thanks to all concerned for your support and kind comments.
One week after the last update, there has been no change in the situation of the forty eight men still on board the QE2 in Dubai. The salient points are as follows;
* The crew has still only been paid wages for the month of March, despite Oceanic Group promising that they would also be paid their wages for April. And, of course, their collective wages will soon be due for the month of May as well.
* No airline tickets, timetables or follow up information has been offered to the seven crewmen, despite assurances from Oceanic Group that they would be going home ‘soon’. Meanwhile, the other thirteen regarded as superfluous by the company- who were also told that they would be going home ‘soon’- are still in the dark as well.
* In consequence, the strike initiated on May 15, 2014 is still in effect as of this moment.
So, despite the knee jerk, unctuous outpouring of promises and half truths that flowed from Oceanic group when this story broke the other week, the company has still fully honoured NONE of it’s pledges.
The crew are effectively hostages on board the stalled ship, which is herself obviously suffering as a result of the labour stoppage. Calling her situation ‘desperate’ is, sadly, no exaggeration.
Oceanic Group has- yet again- displayed a callous, disingenuous disregard for anything but its own sense of self esteem. And it is ‘self esteem’ because nobody else holds them in anything but contempt. Nothing they have said and done in the last week is going to turn that opinion around any time soon.
The latest news from on board the QE2 is that five of the initial batch of seven crew who were promised air tickets home have finally left the ship. There are now some forty three crewmen on board the QE2.
The salary due for April has been promised for pay next week. This would mean that the crew have finally been brought up to date, wage wise. Assuming, of course, that it happens.
In light of these circumstances, the crew has now officially called off the strike initiated by them on May 15th.
Events will continue to be monitored here.