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UK government response to ILO rebuke on labour laws 'disappointing', says Nautilus

12 December 2023

Nautilus has dismissed as 'disappointing' the UK government's response to a recent rebuke by the International Labour Organization (ILO), which had urged the UK to strengthen its labour laws in the face of a weak response to the P&O Ferries jobs massacre.

In early November 2023, Nautilus welcomed a statement from the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) which demonstrated that significantly weak employment protections in the UK aided and abetted P&O Ferries in sacking 786 seafarers in 2022, without warning or consultation.

On 27 November 2023, Scottish National Party spokesperson on transport, Gavin Newlands MP, tabled a question to the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, asking whether the government planned to take steps to implement the ILO's recommendations.

Replying on 5 December 2023, UK business minister Kevin Hollinrake said: 'The government will consider the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Committee on Freedom of Association's recommendations and will provide information on these to the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) in due course.

'The government remains committed to all ILO Conventions we have ratified, including Convention 87 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, and Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.'

Nautilus International director of organising Martyn Gray said: 'The government response is disappointing. It is now 21 months since P&O Ferries' illegal sacking of 786 maritime professionals.

'Government must go beyond consideration of the CFA's recommendations. It must, as recommended, commit to an action plan to strengthen employment protections and stop a repeat of P&O Ferries.'


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