Shipping union, Nautilus International, is due to present a composite motion to the TUC Congress this week (18-20 October), seeking support for its Fair Ferries campaign in light of the P&O Ferries sacking scandal earlier this year .
P&O Ferries unfairly and unlawfully terminated the employment of 786 British seafarers without notice via Zoom call in March and replaced them with agency crew earning below minimum wage, its chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite later telling MPs that the company chose to break the law and would do it again.
Nautilus now fears that other employers see these actions as an opportunity to behave in the same way, jeopardizing long-established collective agreements and legal employment protections covering all workers in the UK.
Moreover, instead of strengthening employment rights after the P&O Ferries scandal, the government weakened them further by announcing proposals allowing agency workers to break strikes and massively increasing the fines that can be imposed on unions. for breach of industrial action law. The government is also threatening to abolish workers’ right to strike.
Nautilus tabled the motion for the TUC to back its Fair Ferries strategy, which seeks improvements to ensure the ferry industry does not find itself in the same predicament again, including an Europe-wide framework industry linking the right to operate a ferry service with union collective bargaining, an end to layoffs and rehires and the creation of minimum wage corridors between the UK and neighboring countries.
Mark Dickinson, General Secretary of Nautilus International, said: “This week we are calling on Congress to support our ‘Fair Ferries’ campaign to reverse the race to the bottom in pay and conditions for seafarers that has been accelerated by P&O Ferries. “The events of March this year cannot be repeated and we urge the government to take the actions outlined in our Fair Ferries framework to create a real ‘level playing field’ that encourages a race to the top, rather than a race to the bottom in employment standards.Given the strategic importance of our ferry services to an island nation, this is a goal worth fighting for.
Source: Nautilus International