P&O Ferries was forced to reinstate the agency workers’ original contracts after they allegedly tried to push through a pay cut by asking workers to sign new ones.
According to reports, the National Union of Railway, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) was approached by sailors from the ferry Spirit of Britain who claimed they had been asked to sign new contracts with a reduced salary.
The workers claimed they were forced to work without a contract after their old contracts expired. The BBC reported that some workers had been hired on one or two month contracts and told to accept lower pay rates if they wanted to stay.
A Dover ferry worker told the RMT: “They don’t care about our rights. They try to give us less money. We are desperate”. The worker claimed he had been working without a contract for six days.
The RMT told the BBC that P&O was ‘desperate to keep these new crews on board as they have been on board for four weeks now and these crews were starting to get to grips with the ships’.
Chiefs paid £2,336 a month on temporary contracts have been asked to take a £195 pay cut, according to the Mirror. Some crew members earn just £748 a month for a 40 hour week.
P&O Ferries made headlines in March after laying off 800 crew members and replacing them with agency staff employed overseas. The Insolvency Service has launched criminal and civil investigations into the dismissals, while a former chief is pursuing a claim of unfair dismissal and discrimination.
The union reported the ferry operator to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which forced P&O Ferries to issue the workers amended contracts and restore their original wages.
P&O Ferries and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have been contacted for a response.
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