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Displaying items by tag: P&O sackings

At the ferry port of Dover, protesters have gathered to mark the first anniversary when P&O sacked hundreds of seafarers and staff.

Almost 800 people had lost their jobs when the ferry operator with routes from the UK to Ireland, France and the Netherlands, replaced them with agency staff on less than the minimum wage.

The move led to widespread protests at the time and criticism of the UK government.

P&O said the "changes" meant it was now serving customers "much better than ever before".

During the rally held in the Kent port, Mike Lynch general secretary of the Rail, Maritime & Transport (RMT) workers union, told the rally it was "obscene" that the company had faced no punishment for the sackings.

Substantial progress according to the UK government has been made on seafarer protection.

BBC News has more on the rally.

Published in Ferry

A Dubai-based owner of P&O Ferries has reported record-breaking profits just months after sacking 800 of its UK-based workers without notice.

DP World, which is ultimately owned by the Dubai royal family, said in March that firing 786 P&O seafarers and replacing them with much cheaper agency workers was the only way to ensure the “future viability” of the historic ferry business.

However, on Thursday Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World’s chair and chief executive, announced the company had increased its first-half revenues by 60 per cent to $7.9 billion (€7.8bn) and profits had risen by more than 50 per cent to a record $721 million.

“We are delighted to report a record set of first-half results with … attributable earnings [profits] rising 51.8 per cent,” he said in the company’s earning’s statement on Thursday. “Overall the strong first-half performance leaves us well placed to deliver improved full-year results.”

Further coverage The Irish Times has on the seafarers sackings which included those working on the Irish Sea.

Published in Ferry

Ferry company P&O will be forced to “fundamentally rethink their decision” to sack nearly 800 workers, according to British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The Cabinet minister made the claim as he set out a series of measures in response to the redundancies.

These include plans (see story) to create “minimum wage corridors” on ferry routes between the UK and other countries.

He will also urge ports to refuse access to boats carrying seafarers paid below the minimum wage, and ask the Insolvency Service to consider disqualifying P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite from acting as a company director.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Shapps said: “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 Irish Examiner has more. 

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P&O Ferries sacking of 800 staff which has “struck fear” into North Wales ferry workers, Anglesey (Ynys Môn) MP Virginia Crosbie has warned.

On Thursday (last week), P&O Ferries announced the sacking of 800 staff with immediate effect, who were to be replaced by agency workers in order for the company to remain a “viable business”, an act condemned by the UK Government.

Virginia Crosbie MP told the House of Commons of the uncertainty this has left among other ferry workers, including those in her constituency who have close ties to those that had worked for P&O.

Mrs Crosbie said: “I say all this to outline the fact that the bonds between my constituents and the employees of P&O are incredibly strong, and also that P&O’s recent actions have struck fear into our local ferry workers.

“I have spent time on the phone with constituents who work for Stena, including David Gwatkin, a steward on board the Stena Adventurer and a union representative.

The NorthWalesChronicle reports more on the ferryport town.

Afloat adds the Holyhead-Dublin Port ferry which operates in tandem with Stena Estrid, is currently in Cammell Laird shipyard on Merseyside for routine annual dry-docking.

While Stena Estrid is operating as the service's only ferry, as relief ferry Stena Nordica Afloat previously reported, has since been redeployed to the North Channel. This is to boost Belfast-Cairnyran capacity with added sailings, following more than a week of suspended P&O sailings on the Cairnryan-Larne link.

The Stena Adventurer which is normally the Irish Sea central corridor's second route ferry had departed Holyhead on 9 March when it sailed to the Birkenhead based shipyard.

Published in Ferry

Up to 60 employees,The Irish Times writes, who lost their jobs when P&O Ferries sacked them on Thursday are from Ireland, their trade union has stated.

Maritime union, Nautilus International, official Mickey Smyth said he estimated that 25 workers from the Republic and 35 from the North are among the 800 who were dismissed without notice on Thursday.

Most work on the European Causeway vessel which sails between Larne and Cairnryan, see Afloat's previous related coverage. 

The workers affected were employed by a hiring agency in Jersey and are subject to UK law.

Mr Smyth said the workers on the P&O Ferries ferry between Liverpool and Dublin (see terminal staff story) are not affected as they are employed under Dutch law.

The company said its services between Liverpool and Dublin resumed on Saturday.

The Dublin-Liverpool route is serviced by two roll-on, roll-off passenger and freight ships (ro-pax), the Bermuda-flagged Norbay and the Dutch-flagged Norbank (as pictured above the Rotterdam registered ro-pax).

The Norbank left Dublin Port at 7.30am on Saturday morning for a scheduled sailing and is due back from Liverpool on Saturday.

More here on this ferry industry development. 

Published in Ferry

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!