P&O Ferries slammed for driving down terms and conditions during Covid-19 outbreak
14 April 2020
Nautilus has raised concerns with P&O Ferries following its proposed draconian changes to members terms and conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
P&O Ferries wants to renegotiate rates of pay to a 'more sustainable level', revise recall payments, reduce occupational sick pay, revise the redundancy formula to reduce to statutory pay, introduce lay off clauses in its Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), introduce a ‘no strike clause’, remove long service benefits and remove the profit share scheme.
The company also wants to introduce a two weeks on/two weeks off roster on its short sea route.
Nautilus head of industrial Micky Smyth said this would be against the findings of studies on fatigue in crews including the Union's Project Horizon study, as well as P&O's own studies 'which clearly showed that it was unsafe to work over 6/7 days on the route given the intensity of the service'.
Nautilus would never compromise on safety, Mr Smyth said.
Mr Smyth has written to the company's divisional people director Lesley Cotton advising that members would not accept any wage cuts for staff. He reminded P&O that: 'It is the staff who are your loyal hard-working employees both at sea and ashore and who have over many years, delivered an excellent service.'
Members would never agree to a no strike clause, Mr Smyth said. 'Nautilus International is extremely surprised that this has been requested, given the history and working relationship between the company and ourselves as the Union for maritime professionals.'
Mr Smyth has agreed with P&O Liaison Officers not to meet with the company again until the Union had been given specific details and costings for the proposals.
In late March P&O Ferries began suspending parts of its operations as passenger numbers plunged.
Chief executive Janette Bell said that the ferry operator would immediately furlough its tourist operations and put non-essential support functions into hibernation.
Up to 80% of salaries of affected staff would be covered by the government, while P&O would pay the remainder to ensure staff retain their basic salary, Ms Bell said at the time.
Chief financial officer Karl Howarth told Nautilus that the company has laid off agency staff, laid up vessels, reduced sailings and cancelled advertising.
Members facing furlough or who have any questions regarding this, are advised to contact HR personnel at P&O Ferries in the first instance.
More help and our coronavirus resource hub can be found on our Assistance page.
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