According to unions, P&O Ferries wants to replace crew laid off last week with workers who receive just 2.15 euros an hour.
Surprise all around when last Thursday P&O Ferries returned their boats and 800 crew members Via a pre-recorded zoom message It was announced that they had been expelled. Too expensive for the company that lost. The new temporary foreign workers on buses were ready to take over immediately. This failed because the unions asked the expelled crew members not to leave the ships. Since then, no P&O ferry has taken off on routes like Calais-Dover or Rotterdam-Hull.
Discontent over the way P&O Ferries operates is particularly large. Unions accuse P&O Ferries of letting new crew members work for at least £1.8 (€2.15) an hour. According to the British trade union RMT, these are Indian wages.
However, there is a British minimum wage of 8.91 pounds (= 10.65 euros). But since crew members do not work on British soil but in the North Sea, the minimum wage does not apply. Ships no longer sail under the British flag.
A spokesperson for P&O Ferries couldn’t deny that it would be paying these very low wages. According to Labor MP Karl Turner, these cheap workers on the Hull-Rotterdam line will have to work 12-hour shifts, eight consecutive weeks. They are staying in dirt cheap rooms in Hull. According to him, the new employees will come from India, the Philippines and Ukraine.
Labor unions and politicians are also concerned about the safety of ships when they are operated by inexperienced crew members. A P&O Ferries spokesperson confirmed that the new arrivals are adequately trained and have knowledge of safety procedures.
At the moment, no ships have departed from the P&O Ferries. The company also did not specify when it expects to resume the crossings.
There is significant political anger over P&O Ferries and parent company DP World from the United Arab Emirates. Prime Minister Johnson’s government has already been told that this is a totally unacceptable course of action.
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