The Labour Party has called to ban the management of disgraced ferry operator P&O from ever holding any kind of senior position after the company sacked 800 seafarers and replaced them with cheaper workers.
“P&O brazenly broke the law and they have faced no consequences for their action,” said shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh during today’s transport questions.
“They are laughing in the faces of this Parliament and the public and government frankly is letting them get away with it. So when will they get tough and seek a court order banning the entire board from office?”
Haig’s words were echoed by Labour MP John McDonnell who argued that P&O was forcing the agency crew it replaced the seafarers with to work over 230 trips before a period of rest.
“The experienced local crew they replaced worked 18 round trips before a rest period. This is where P&O is cutting its wage bill and not just in minimum wage avoidance,” McDonnell said.
Transport minister Robert Courts rebutted to the accusations arguing that “there is a whole point of nine actions” the government was taking, including the introduction of a minimum wage for seafarers.
Announced during the Queen’s Speech on 10 May, the legislation will ban ferries from operating if their employees are not paid the equivalent of a UK minimum wage when docking at ports.
Hailed by the government as a way to “protect all seafarers,” the bill was criticised by unions and ports, City A.M. reported.