Brittany Ferries’ chief executive Christophe Mathieu has called on the UK Government to “refocus” its attention to improving conditions for those working in the Channel.
“We welcomed former transport secretary Grant Shapps’ determination to drive up standards in the ferry sector and to set minimum wage requirements for ferry workers,” Mathieu said.
“Now we urge the new transport secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan to take up the baton with the same vigour.”
According to the chief executive, the economy’s current state had pushed seafarers legislation off the government’s priority list.
“As a business we want a level playing field for all seafarers, but as a society we must not allow companies to behave without regard for the well-being of key workers.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson told City A.M. the government has a “a nine-point plan to improve their working conditions irrespective of flag or nationality, including changing the law to prevent employers undercutting wages.”
Running Channel services between the UK, France and Spain, Brittany Ferries operates under the French flag, which says it ensures adequate wages and good working conditions for all employees.
Following the P&O scandal – which saw the disgraced ferry operator sack 800 workers in March – Shapps, then transport secretary, introduced a seafarers’ minimum wage law.
Announced in May during the Queen’s Speech and introduced two months later, the law bans ferries from operating if their employees are not paid the equivalent of the UK minimum wage when docking at UK ports.