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Riviera – News Content Hub

March 20

Nautilus International and others have released what appears to be a letter to the remaining staff of P&O Ferries from Mr Hebblethwaite on P&O Ferries letterhead.

‘Our goal now is to return our ships to service,’ the letter reads, thanking staff for their ‘resilience’ and saying ‘it is only natural to feel uncomfortable’ in the face of wide coverage. shooting media.

“Our ships will remain in port for the time being, as our new IFM [agency] seafarers are getting in tune so that we can get our ships back into service safely. We expect the service disruption to be relatively short and I’m happy to say Norbank will be back in service from tomorrow, sailing the Liverpool-Dublin route, and the route has continued to maintain crossings.”

Unions TSSA and RMT have both called on the UK government to seize P&O Ferries ships if the company does not reverse its decision to lay off workers.

On March 17, the UK government wrote a letter to P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite to say he suspected his company had breached rules governing mass layoffs after P&O Ferries laid off more than 800 of its employees.

In the letter, UK Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Kwasi Kwarteng and Under Secretary of State MP Paul Scully said there is clear rules and processes for employers to follow if they are staffing large groups. redundant. These rules include prior notification of the action to the Secretary of State and consultation with unions or elected employee representatives.

“Failure to comply with the notification requirement is a criminal offense and may result in an unlimited fine,” the letter states. “We note that in this case P&O Ferries appears not to have followed this process. We have therefore instructed the Insolvency Service to review the notification requirements and determine whether further action is appropriate.”

Expressing “anger and disappointment at the way P&O Ferries has handled the dismissal of so many” on behalf of the UK government, the letter demanded answers from the chief executive of DP World-owned P&O Ferries on 10 points “to understand why you think these rules do not apply to you”.

“It can’t be fair that the company feels connected enough to the UK to receive large sums of taxpayers’ money, but doesn’t seem willing to abide by the rules we have put in place to protect workers. British,” the letter reads, referring to money. the company had taken when its services were interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. P&O Ferries laid off some 1,100 staff in May 2020 in a move it said was designed to “adjust the size” of the business.

March 17

Responses to P&O’s apparent plan to lay off hundreds of its workers are mounting. Labor MP for Hull Karl Turner posted on Twitter that a new crew was waiting to board the P&O ship Pride of Hull on King George Dock and the RMT union was supporting the crew sitting on the ship to prevent boarding.

“We understand the current officers and ratings need to be fired,” the MP tweeted.

Maritime union Nautilus International issued a statement in response to the mass dismissal of P&O staff, saying: “There has been no consultation and no advice given by P&O. Rest assured that all Nautilus International resources are ready to act. in defense of our members. We believe it is in our members best interests to remain on board until further notice.”

P&O recently edited customer posts on Twitter to say the planned disruption to services will last days rather than hours.

“Our services cannot operate for the next few days. Please arrive as planned, we will get you on another carrier as soon as possible,” P&O Ferries tweeted.

According to an initial statement from the ferry operator, its announcement, made with the backing of P&O majority shareholder DP World, will “secure the long-term viability” of the company.

P&O said that in order to facilitate the announcement, all of the company’s ships have been asked to unload passengers and cargo and await further instructions.

“This means we expect all of our ports to experience severe disruption today,” P&O added.

P&O told the BBC that “in its current state, P&O Ferries is not a viable business. without these changes there is no future for P&O Ferries.”

Ahead of the announcement, P&O said: “P&O Ferries is not in liquidation. We have asked all ships to come alongside in view of a company announcement. Until then P&O services will not operate. not and we are advising travelers of alternative arrangements.”

Ahead of Nautilus International’s reactions, Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Lynch said there was “growing speculation that the company was planning to lay off hundreds of British seafarers”.

“We have asked our members to stay on board and demand that our members across P&O operations in the UK be protected and that the Secretary of State intervene.”

Riviera Maritime Media has contacted P&O several times by phone and email since the layoffs were announced, but received no response.