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by Kirsteen Paterson
28 March 2022
UK Government moves to close ferry pay loophole amidst P&O row

RMT union members protest

UK Government moves to close ferry pay loophole amidst P&O row

800 staff were made redundant without notice

New measures to require all ferry operators working from UK ports to pay staff the National Minimum Wage or more will be introduced this week in light of the P&O Ferries row.

The move is an attempt to convince the firm to reverse the 800 redundancies it has announced.

That step, which includes the hiring of workers from overseas on much lower pay, has triggered angry protests and condemnation from across the political spectrum.

The Department for Transport said ministers are "working to understand how we can ensure the continuation of services in collaboration with other operators, including DFDS and Stena".

And the BBC reports that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hopes that the legislative measure will make the company change direction on the jobs.

However, unions say workers should not be reinstated on reduced terms.

According to P&O the workforce changes are necessary because it is losing £100m a year and could not continue to be viable otherwise.

Last week its chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite told MPs that he knew it was against the law to sack the affected workers without notice.

The government move, set to be introduced mid-week, aims to close the legal loophole which allows overseas-registered ferry firms which are using UK ports to pay rates of lower than the minimum wage.

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