New legislation, which the government is due to pass this week, could lead to a shutdown P&O ferries and affect international relations run by other firms.
P&O fired 800 sailors on March 17, intending to replace them with cheaper agency staff. The company has repeatedly stated that a decision that contradicted the rules of job reduction consultations was the only alternative to closure.
Secretary of Transport, Grant Shapsis expected to announce today to P&O Ferries CEO Peter Habletwaite about the re-hiring of laid-off staff.
Last week, Mr Shaps said: “We will make sure P&O has to deploy this.”
But the head of the ferry firm has repeatedly said that the firm has lost £ 100 million a year – at a rate of £ 3 a second – and that it will close if it cannot reduce its excellent base.
Last week, Mr Habletwaite told MPs: “We were not viable before and I know that if we had not made radical changes, the business would have closed.
“It would not be 800 laid off with significant payments, it would be 3,000 people who would lose their jobs.”
He said the average salary of the agency’s staff is £ 5.50 an hour. The rate is 42 per cent lower than the minimum hourly wage of £ 9.50, which comes into force on 1 April.
Currently, P&O Ferries, whose main company is DP World of Dubai, is losing £ 1 million a day. There are no ships on the key routes between Dover and Calais and between Kernrayan and Larne. At the last link, one of the two P&O vessels was detained in the port of Larne due to security concerns.
P&O Ferries is expected to resume sailing between the ports of Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as the Hal Rotterdam line. It is already operating between Liverpool and Dublin – a route whose crew is carried out by employees of cheaper agencies.
Any closure will result in an additional loss of more than 2,000 jobs and a sharp reduction in passenger and freight traffic before Easter.
This week, ministers will introduce legislation that will force ferry companies servicing UK ports to pay sailors at least the minimum wage in the country.
That would force Irish ferries – whose crew works under contracts with the agency – to increase their salaries on ships connecting Dover to Calais – as well as two links to Ireland, Holyhead-Dublin and Pembroke to Rosler.
Last November, the CEO of DP World at a meeting in Dubai last November expressed Mr Shapsu’s concern over competition from the low-cost Irish Ferries.
Many other shipping companies, including cruise companies, will be forced to pay the crew at least £ 9.50 an hour while they are in British waters and ports.
On March 23, the Prime Minister told Parliament: “We will take steps to protect all seafarers working in UK waters and ensure that they are paid a living wage.”
This will especially affect companies such as Southampton P&O cruiseswhich is not related to the ferry company.
The standard business model in the cruise industry is to in many countries hire agency staff at rates below the minimum.
The Independent asked the Department of Transportation what steps the government would take to help more than 2,000 existing P&O Ferries employees if the firm closes, as well as for passengers and cargo on affected routes.
P&O Ferries: New legislation could lead to the termination of a company with a loss of 2,000 jobs
Source link P&O Ferries: New legislation could lead to the termination of a company with a loss of 2,000 jobs