P&O Ferries: What’s happening after the firm slashed 800 jobs?

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P&O Ferries: What’s happening after the firm slashed 800 jobs?

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 P&O Ferries: What’s happening after the firm slashed 800 jobs?
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 Highlights

  • The P&O Ferries is in the news after they made 800 positions redundant, suspended operations as a cost-cutting exercise.
  • According to reports, government ministers were already aware of P&O Ferries’ plan of cutting back the jobs prior to this information reaching the staff of the company.
  • P&O Ferries has allegedly been hiring cheap foreign staff to work for its vessels by taking advantage of an ambiguity in the minimum wage laws.

Two days after announcing a major cutting back of jobs, P&O Ferries resumed its services two days after suspending jobs of its 800 crew members without notice as a cost-cutting exercise. 

The P&O Ferries is in the news after they made 800 positions redundant, suspended operations, cancelled all its sailings schedules on Thursday in a bid to cut costs as a result of the pandemic aftermath. Various news reports claimed that the government ministers were already aware of P&O Ferries’ plan of cutting back on the jobs before it announced its decision in a video call. Now the Union is blaming the UK Government for complotting this outrageous act with P&O ferries.  

As per the claims, the officials took the decision of mass sackings to support P&O Ferries in maintaining its position as a major player in the UK market over the coming years. It has been reported that a memo created by a senior Whitehall official, which defended the mass terminations, was allegedly leaked, stating that around 2,200 jobs would have been lost if this decision wasn’t taken.  

 P&O Ferries cutting back on jobs

2022 Kalkine Media® 

The memo was written before the ferry staff got to know about the redundancies. Like various other companies which have reduced their staff lately, P&O Ferries also aimed to stay in line and cover the huge loss of £100 million that it made in just a year.

 

Accusations of exploitation

UK-based shipping business P&O Ferries manages the ferries running between the UK to Ireland and Continental Europe. Founded in 2000 via mergers and acquisitions in P&O itself, the company has been under the Emirati global logistics firm DP World since 2019.  

 P&O Ferries

2022 Kalkine Media® 

Various allegations have been raised against P&O Ferries regarding its exploitation tactics. The company has allegedly been hiring cheap foreign staff to work for its vessels by taking advantage of an ambiguity in the minimum wage laws. Hiring workers for wages as low as £1.83 an hour, P&O Ferries may potentially cut back on its wage bill by 50%, and it has apparently been doing so by misusing the fact that international sea routes aren’t subjected to the national minimum wage laws.  

In terms of paying wages to overseas staff, P&O Ferries has been at the bottom, as per various surveys conducted by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). A very low wage of £1.83 per hour was being paid by P&O Ferries to its catering staff in 2019, which didn’t even include overtime, according to an ITF survey. Workers from the Philippines, Poland, and Portugal were forced to work 12 hours per day continuously for days, weeks, and months, without proper compensations.  

The company had cut back on 1,100 jobs in May 2020, and the Union has alerted MPs that the plan of the company may be to substitute all the UK-based workers with cheap overseas workers.

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During the pandemic phase, P&O Ferries has used over £10 million of taxpayers’ money for paying wages to its workers. This has made the MPs enraged and thus ministers are now facing serious calls for evaluating the operations P&O Ferries’ owner DP World, which is based in Dubai and manages several ports at Southampton and London Gateway too.  

P&O Ferries cutting back on jobs  2022 Kalkine Media®

Bottomline 

Labour has been strongly accusing the Boris Johnson government of being complicit in the fire and rehire tactics of P&O Ferries, which has affected the livelihoods of hundreds of workers already struck by the cost-of-living crisis. Conservatives are being blamed for not taking a stand for the UK workers who are suffering due to exploitative policies.

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