Circular No IR/349/19


Our Ref: SH/15/6
4th September 2019

Dear Colleagues


I am writing to advise you that the RMT is now in dispute with your employer. In early June P&O announced the sale of the Bahamas registered MV European Endeavour to Finnish ferry company Eckerö. Our members serving on the European Endeavour were offered a voluntary redundancy package or alternative employment in Hull or Dover.

However, the union’s negotiating team are disappointed that our affected members were not offered suitable alternative employment on the Irish Sea, despite the fact that a number of Officers from the European Endeavour were offered the option of alternative employment on the Irish Sea.

At this moment in time, the Norbay, the European Highlander and the European Causeway are all operating in the Irish Sea and the union’s negotiating team believe that it would be straightforward for P&O to find our displaced members suitable alternative duties on those vessels.

In light of this and noting that Ratings positions in the Irish Sea are currently being filled with agency crew and non UK/Irish workers, our affected members submitted a collective grievance. However, the company did not uphold this grievance citing that their ‘business model’ on the Irish Sea needs to be maintained.

This is wholly disappointing and your union’s National Executive Committee believes that the company’s actions fatally undermine our members’ collectively bargained terms and conditions and the 2012 Harmonisation Agreement.

To maintain their low-cost labour model P&O are riding roughshod over the mobility clauses in your contracts and identifying a preference to employ low-cost labour agency workers rather than its own employees. This course of action could ultimately open the door to Ratings being induced to move from sector to sector.

Although the RMT has been exploring all legal and political avenues in order try and resolve this matter, the National Executive Committee believes that P&O’s intransigent attitude has backed the union into a corner and therefore the RMT should start preparing a ballot for industrial action. In line with the wishes of the National Executive Committee, I have advised P&O that our organisations are now in dispute over this matter.

I trust this keeps you fully advised on the matter and I will, of course, inform you of any further developments should they arise.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary