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P&O Ferries hires replacement labour and security staff ahead of making British crew redundant

17 March 2022

Nautilus International has received evidence that P&O Ferries was planning to lay off all seafarers on UK routes for a long time ahead of its scandalous action to sack all crew without consultation.

P&O has made at least 800 crew onboard its ferries redundant with immediate effect.

The company appears to have sought labour from Eastern Europe to replace British workers and has also hired security teams trained in restraint techniques to intimidate seafarers following the redundancy announcement.

The Union has received word that security guards are now aboard some of the P&O vessels and are threatening crew that if they do not sign redundancy agreements now and leave the vessel they will receive only statutory redundancy pay and reduced terms. On other vessels crew have refused to let them onboard.

Replacement labour

A job advertisement appears to have been posted by a crewing company based in Eastern Europe, seeking staff to replace experienced British seafarers who have been working on P&O routes for many years, and also have the experience to perform operations safely.

Titled 'Urgent job for EU crews only!', it says:

'We need 40 ABs and Motorman to join after tomorrow our Passenger Vessel in UK. Contract duration is just 2 weeks! Salary is USD 2000 per week worked i.e. USD 4000 for the whole contract of 2 weeks! Please let your friends know!!!!!!!'

Handcuff training

The Union also received a message that appears to have been sent to staff at security and enforcement specialist Interforce.

'You have been selected to deploy on a task in Dover that will be fairly high profile. This task will run for 1 week,' it says.

'As of the 17th you will be dispatched by coach to Dover docks to assist the client in their delivery… Hourly rate of pay is our standard £14.50.

'The client we are assisting required 16 Interforce Officers (handcuff trained) to support their security teams… you will need your Interforce uniform including cuffs and utility belt.'