In a speech to the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps announced several measures, including ensuring that all UK ferry operators pay the national minimum wage and that ferries are fit for purpose.
“P&O Ferries’ failure to see reason, to recognise the public anger and to do the right thing by their staff has left the government with no choice,” the Minister said.
He announced a package of 9 measures:
- HM Revenue and Customs to check that all UK ferry operators are compliant with the National Minimum Wage where they should be.
- Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to review their enforcement policies.
- Prevent employers, who have not made reasonable efforts to reach agreement through consultation, from using fire and rehire tactics.
- CEO of P&O Ferries should resign.
- Pursuing worldwide agreements at the International Labour Organisation.
- From next week, the reforms to Tonnage Taxcome into effect, making it easier for maritime businesses to set up in the UK.
- Engage with international partners to discuss how maritime workers on direct routes between the countries and the UK should receive a minimum wage.
- Intention to give British ports new statutory powers to refuse access to regular ferry services which do not pay their crew the National Minimum Wage.
- “I will be writing to all ports in the UK explaining our intention to bring legislation as quickly as possible. But, in the meantime, instructing them not to wait. I want to see British ports refusing access to ferry companies which don’t pay a fair wage as soon as practical.”