P&O fires seven agency workers for drinking on the job
Disgraced ferry operator P&O said t has fired seven agency workers for drinking while on duty.
The employees, P&O said, were dismissed “with immediate effect” after breaching “our strict guidelines on alcohol consumption.”
“The safety of our passengers and crew is our foremost priority and we continue to operate a zero tolerance policy towards drinking whilst on duty,” a spokesperson told the BBC.
The announcement is the latest scandal to plague P&O after it last month it fired 800 seafarers and replaced them with agency workers, who were paid less than the UK minimum wage whilst in international waters.
Deemed unlawful as workers were dismissed via video call and without prior consultation with unions, the collective firing triggered a strong government response.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps called on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to inspect the company’s eight vessels and detain in port those not fit for sail.
As of today, two vessels are still under arrest while other two have now been cleared. The four remaining still need to be inspected.
Commenting on the firing, RMT’s Darren Procter called the incident “absolutely scandalous.”
“They could end this today by saying to the RMT and to Nautilus: ‘We’ve made a mistake, we’ve compromised safety, we’ve jeopardised our reputation in the local community, and we want to come back to you.'”
Echoing Procter’s words, Karl Turner, Labour Mp for Hull East said replacing expert sailors with agency ones “is risking [the] safety of passengers and crews.”