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Operator P&O Ferries has announced the Pride of Canterbury will be reinstated on the Dover to Calais route from Monday (May, 30). The ferry passed its inspections on last Thursday and has been cleared to sail.

It will be the first time the operator KentLive reports, has had three of its vessels on the route after sacking nearly 800 workers in March. Employees were delivered the brutal news that they had lost their jobs in a short recorded video message.

A senior company executive explained in the video that the job losses were necessary to keep P&O Ferries afloat after losses of £100 million each year over the past two years. CEO Peter Hebblethwaite has admitted he's "incredibly sorry" for the impact caused by the operator sacking hundreds of staff without notice.

But now, the Pride of Canterbury will join the Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain in sailing between Dover and Calais. In a Tweet, P&O Ferries Freight said: "From tomorrow (30/05/2022), we will be adding some Pride of Canterbury sailing to our schedule."

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At disgraced ferry company P&O, bosses have given overseas workers a pay rise despite sacking nearly 800 UK staff in March after 'claiming poverty'.

As Hull Live reports, more than 100 staff members in the Netherlands will get a 5% rise in their paypackets, it was revealed this weekend.

The revelation comes two months after P&O fired hundreds of employees - including dozens in Hull - to take on overseas agency staff paid below UK minimum wage due to claims it had run out of money.

The news, revealed by The Sunday Mirror, was met with fury by unions and Labour, who blasted the Government’s 'lack of action'.

Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said: “The Conservatives have given the green light to trample over workers in Britain. Nowhere is that more apparent than the stark difference in how P&O think they can get away with treating Dutch and British workers.”

More on the story of the ferry operator which has a network that includes Dover-Calais and Irish Sea services of Liverpool-Dublin and Cairnryan-Larne.

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A vessel of P&O Ferries is being examined for a fourth time, after failing three inspections since the operator sacked nearly 800 seafarers.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said a team of surveyors are reinspecting the detained ferry Pride of Kent “at the request of P&O Ferries”.

P&O Ferries suspended most of its operations after it replaced 786 crew members with cheaper agency workers on March 17.

The inability of Pride of Kent to pass a safety inspection has contributed to a shortage of capacity between Dover and Calais.

P&O Ferries finally resumed tourist sailings on the key route last week but is only able to use one of its ships, Spirit of Britain, which was cleared to sail after an initial probe found 23 failings including that the agency staff did not know how to use the onboard life-saving equipment.

More from KentOnkine on the operator's Strait of Dover service. 

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A ferry operated by P&O which spent hours adrift in the Irish Sea on Tuesday is back in service after passing an inspection.

The European Causeway lost power off the County Antrim coast while sailing from Scotland to Northern Ireland.

The Maritime And Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the ferry would have to remain in dock until it was reviewed.

An MCA spokeswoman said: "Our surveyors have carried out a full inspection of the European Causeway and are satisfied that it is safe to sail again."

P&O has experienced difficulties in the last few months, having sacked 800 of its workers across the UK without notice and replacing them with cheaper agency workers paid below the minimum wage.

BBC News has more including UK government call on P&O to repay £11m in furlough money it received during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The company P&O Ferries, reports BBC News, has been urged to hand back the money it received to furlough staff during the coronavirus pandemic as Afloat reported in March 2020.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the firm should repay the £11m in government money it had received.

The ferry firm sparked outrage after sacking almost 800 seafarers and replacing them with cheaper agency workers paid below the minimum wage.

Mr Shapps' comments came as P&O Ferries resumed (UK-France) sailings for the first time since the sackings.

On Tuesday, the Spirit Of Britain was the first P&O vessel to resume sailings on the Dover-Calais route, after being detained for nearly a fortnight by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency over safety concerns.

The vessel was carrying 'freight' customers only, with passenger services expected to start again early next week.

It is the only P&O ship back in service on the Dover to Calais route, with three others still waiting to pass inspections.

It came after another P&O ship (European Causeway) spent hours adrift without power in the Irish Sea.

P&O said the incident was caused by a "temporary mechanical issue" that had been resolved.

The ship - which will now be visited by maritime inspectors - returned to port "under its own propulsion, with local tugs on standby," a spokesperson added.

More on the ongoing ferry story including the UK government response to the controversial crewing dispute.

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A ferry operated by P&O which was sailing from Scotland to Northern Ireland has regained power after spending hours adrift in the Irish Sea.

The European Causeway, which can carry up to 410 passengers, has docked at Larne Harbour.

It left Cairnryan at about 12:00 BST and was due to arrive at Larne Harbour at 14:00 but got into trouble at 13:30.

P&O said the incident was caused by a "temporary mechanical issue" that had been resolved and a full independent inspection would take place at Larne.

It returned to port "under its own propulsion, with local tugs on standby, where it will discharge its passengers and cargo as planned," said a P&O spokesperson.

No injuries have been reported and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) told the BBC there were no concerns over the safety of passengers.

P&O has experienced difficulties in the last few months, having sacked 800 of its workers across the UK without notice.

Last week, a report recorded 31 failures, including an inability to safely deploy lifeboats or life rafts, on the ferry.

More from BBC News on the North Channel incident. 

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Operator P&O Ferries has been forced to reverse an attempt to pay its new, cheaper agency workers even less money.

It comes after the RMT Union received reports of agency workers at Dover being asked to sign new contracts replacing their old ones on lower pay as BBC News previously covered. 

The union reported P&O Ferries to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which ensured the new workers retained their original wages.

The company has been asked for comment but has so far not responded.

P&O Ferries sacked almost 800 employees last month and brought in cheaper agency workers on some of its boats, in a move it said would ensure the future of the business.

However, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said the firm was now "trying to bring in an exploitative model, with the lowest possible standards they can get away with".

RMT said that a seafarer on the Spirit of Britain (see story) at Dover had initially contacted the union begging for help in a dispute over pay.

In an email seen by the BBC the worker wrote: "They don't care about our rights. They try to give us less money. We are desperate."

Much more on the story, BBC News reports. 

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A ferry of P&O's the European Highlander has returned to service this Sunday afternoon for the first time since the company sacked 800 staff on St Patrick's Day.

According to ITV News, the ropax ferry had been prevented from sailing by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency over safety concerns.

It departed from Larne at midday.

The sailings today mean both P&O vessels (European Causeway) are back in action on the Larne to Cairnryan route.

Stena Line's extra freight ferry (Stena Nordica), brought on to ease congestion, will make its final sailing from Belfast to Cairnryan tomorrow.

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According to a new report, there was an inability to safely deploy lifeboats or life rafts on a P&O Ferries vessel that was one of 31 failures discovered.

Inspectors for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) found that the “launching arrangements for survival craft” on European Causeway were “not as required”.
The ship has two lifeboats and several life rafts for use in emergencies.

Among other flaws identified by the MCA were an inflatable evacuation slide not properly maintained, inadequate fire prevention systems and crew having a lack of familiarity with radio equipment.

There were also problems with labour conditions, navigation and documentation.

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – an alliance of 27 national maritime authorities, including the UK – listed the 31 safety deficiencies but did not provide further details.

Analysis by the PA news agency revealed more failures were found than in any of the other 46,000 Port State Control inspections of ships within the Paris MOU in the past three years.

P&O Ferries was widely condemned after sacking nearly 800 seafarers without notice on March 17 and replacing them with cheaper agency staff.

The firm suspended most of its sailings, including by European Causeway on the Northern Ireland-Scotland route.

For further reading, the Independent has more. 


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The UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the boss of P&O Ferries should resign after his "brazen" and "breathtaking" comments about "knowingly breaking the law".

It comes after chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite admitted the company broke employment law when it sacked 800 workers without notice.

The Transport Secretary told Sky News this morning: "I thought what the boss of P&O said yesterday about knowingly breaking the law was brazen and breathtaking, and showed incredible arrogance.

"I cannot believe that he can stay in that role having admitted to deliberately go out and use a loophole - well, break the law, but also use a loophole."

Pressed on whether that meant he was calling for Mr Hebblethwaite to resign "right now", he said: "Yes."

Mr Shapps also said the Government is planning to change the law to ensure companies working from British ports pay people the minimum wage.

Yesterday, Mr Hebblethwaite was urged by MPs to quit after acknowledging there is "absolutely no doubt" the ferry operator was required to consult with trade unions.

The company replaced its crews with cheaper agency workers last week.

More RTE News has here to read on this development.  

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