P&O Ferries Sackings: Unions Trigger UN Investigation Over UK’s Failure To Enforce Laws That Protect Workers

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P&O Ferries Sackings: Unions Trigger UN Investigation Over UK’s Failure To Enforce Laws That Protect Workers


A variety of unions and also international union federations have actually contacted the International Labour Organization (ILO– component of the UN) asking it to quickly interfere in behalf of the 800 seafarers that were unlawfully terminated and also cruelly abused by P&O Ferries.

The unions suggest that the UK federal government’s failing to impose pertinent work legislations and also vindictive assents to make sure conformity adhering to P&O Ferries’ unlawful shooting of seafarers without examination, is a significant offense of the ILO’s concepts worrying the flexibility of organization and also cumulative negotiating. The federal government has actually likewise opposed global treaties the UK is bound by.

P&O Ferries’ attack on the lawful structure activated employees’ organisations consisting of International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), seafarers’ unions Nautilus International and also the Rail, Maritime and also Transport Workers (RMT); the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC); the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), and also the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to collectively submit a main grievance with the ILO concerning the UK Government.

P&O ferry
Image Credits: sailine.org.uk

They think about the issue so severe that they have actually likewise asked for the immediate individual treatment of ILO Director General Guy Ryder, asking him to explain to the UK its failing to comply with worldwide acknowledged work criteria.

“P&O Ferries’ CEO has admitted the company behaved illegally when it fired 800 seafarers without warning in March, and he has told parliament he would do the same again,” claimed Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the ITF. “P&O Ferries has behaved in the most calculated and egregious way and expects to get away with it.”

Laws allow business purchase their escape of problem, employees entrusted to couple of alternatives

“P&O Ferries has run roughshod over these workers’ right to freedom of association and to collective bargaining,” claimedCotton “That’s the consequence of this company blatantly ignoring their legal requirement to consult with the seafarers and their unions, before it sacked them en-masse over Zoom, escorted them off the ships with handcuff-trained security guards and replaced them with a non-unionised workforce on just a fraction of the pay.”

Cotton claimed unions were worried that under UK legislation employees might be economically forced to authorize away their legal rights to lawfully test a companies’ lawbreaking.

“P&O Ferries ‘priced in’ breaking the law and then set about blackmailing the seafarers with gag-order packages worth more than if the workers took P&O to court and won a statutory settlement, buying their legal silence and snuffing out their rights.”

Cotton claimed that although P&O’s activities were dishonest, there were couple of paths for unions to test the activities under present UK legislation.

“Through the ILO, we’re demanding that the UK strengthens their employment laws so that workers can actually rely on the rights the government says they have,” claimed Cotton.

“There needs to be a genuine deterrent to rogue employers. We want to see directors being disbarred if they wilfully ignore workers’ right to consultation. There shouldn’t be a cap on the compensation a worker can receive for an employer failing to consult. It needs to be removed so that courts can apply penalties that fit the crime in cases like P&O Ferries’ which is fire and rehire on steroids.”

Cotton claimed the UK Government required to enable unions and also employees to look for injunctive remedy for courts which might stop questionable shootings and also also turn around sackings up until a company carries out the correct examination.”

Until the UK makes these adjustments to its legislations, the nation remains in offense of ILO Conventions 87 and also 98. ILO C98 requires the nation to ‘encourage and promote’ cumulative negotiating equipment, specifying that all ’employees will take pleasure in appropriate security versus acts of anti-union discrimination.

Unions speak up

RMT basic assistant Mick Lynch claimed: “Gangster capitalists like P&O Ferries are trashing the law and maritime safety standards in order to make a quick buck. This cannot be tolerated. Employers like P&O Ferries, hell-bent on attacking workers rights to profit their owners in Dubai, must face effective legal consequences at the ILO level.”

Nautilus International basic assistant Mark Dickinson, claimed: “Fifty days into this self-imposed crisis, P&O Ferries CEO Peter Hebblethwaite, who admitted to breaking the law, has not paid any price for the illegal sacking of our members. He’s got to go.”

The ETF General Secretary, Livia Spera, claimed: “The UK Government’s failure to enforce their labour laws sets a dangerous precedent for rogue employers across Europe. Ministers must step in, clean up this mess, so we never see another workers’ life ripped apart by such callous and calculated industrial relations practices.”

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, claimed: “Nobody should be treated like disposable labour. But our worker protections are so weak that employers with deep pockets can simply bypass them.”

“This national scandal should be a turning point for workers’ rights in the UK. But Boris Johnson has failed to deliver his long-promised employment bill to strengthen workers’ rights. Working people have had enough. They need better protection and greater dignity at work. And rogue employers who break the law must be hit by tougher penalties and higher fines than the current laws allow.”

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC, claimed: “Decent jobs, freedom of association and collective bargaining must be at the heart of employment laws. Labour laws must protect workers. Now is the time for the UK Government to stamp out fire and rehire, bolster their laws and enforce heavy sanctions on companies who fail to comply.”

Reference: itfseafarers.org


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