20 March 2022
RMT Press Office:
In another shocking twist to the national P&O scandal transport union RMT has said that in the future replacement crew on P&O ships will be paid poverty wages below the National Minimum Wage.
The union have supported their claim by pointing to the example of the two P&O ships on the Liverpool-Dublin route which have been crewed with Filipino Ratings who were on contracts which paid a basic rate of $3.47 per hour.
Shipping companies which are registered in other countries and operating routes from UK ports to Europe can pay below the minimum wage because they are exempt from this basic protection, despite the government saying previously that it would examine addressing this weakness in the legislation.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said,
"The weakness in UK employment law has not only allowed the mass dismissing of UK seafarers it has also incentivised this barbaric behaviour because employers know there may be no effective sanction to stop them doing so and on top of that they can get away with paying below the minimum wage.
"P&O may pay more than the minimum wage at first to agency staff but they will eventually move to rates below this simply because there is nothing to stop them from doing so.
"We fear poverty pay will be accompanied by seafarers being chained to 12 hour day, 7 day week contracts that operate continuously for six months with no pension.
"Anyone going from Dover to Calais and other routes will be paying into the pockets of a company that uses handcuffs to enforce video sackings and pays staff below the minimum wage and atrocious employment conditions. That's why we are saying Don't go with P&O and for a boycott of these services.
"In advance of the parliamentary debate on Monday we are calling on the government to look to all legal options to reinstate our sacked members and if necessary, bring forward enabling legislation which has also been suggested by the Conservative Chair of Transport Select Committee.
"And we need new employment legislation to protect UK seafarers. The reason P&O have not been able to sack seafarers on Dutch and French contracts is because they have far stronger national employment laws.”