Problems piling up for P&O Ferries:
The moral of the story; don’t draw attention to yourself by doing things that gets you in the public view.
Worth reading. From the brother of an an ITF inspector
So following the refusal by the port of Dover to allow ITF inspectors onboard the P&O vessels on Tuesday we requested that we be allowed to board the vessel and speak with the crew who had made complaints. Initially the Port and P&O denied us (myself and ITF inspector Liam Wilson) access even though we had notified them in accordance with local procedures and fulfilled security and safety obligations.
Under ISPS (international ship and port security) code I reminded them that labour organisations are to be given access to vessels.
After some time they conceded that we have a right to access in any port.
Upon getting to the vessel it was clear as day that individuals coming down the gangway were not familiar nor comfortable with using a gangway.
We established that whilst the original crew had joined for 4 weeks or 8 weeks there was more and more crew joining with 17 week contracts.
We even got access to the vessel and established the following whilst dealing with Seafarer complaints that had been received.
The nationalities onboard the Spirit of Britain are:
I spoke with 3 x Honduran crew in the terminal and explained the situation with P&O Ferries, our safety concerns and the scheduling of ferry services would mean that once they join the vessel, if the vessel is to run to schedule, given the intensity of the run (hence our safety concerns) they only have 50 mins in port and they will not set foot on dry land for shore leave for 17 weeks as there is no time to do so…the colour drained from their faces and I think they realised they were joiniing a ferry and not a P&O cruise ship!
The contract that the Hondurans have been issueed is basic payment of $961 per month for 40 hours work per week. This equates to £748 per month for living away from family, onboard a vessel, away from loved ones on the most intensive Ferry route in Uk. Less than £200 per week for basic hours!
They have overtime hours and a bonus, but the reason they keep the basic rate of pay low is that if they are sick / injured or die then the quantum used for formulas is “basic pay”.
The fact that the spirit of Britain has been released from detention does not mean it is safe!
Let me explain why:
when an MCA inspection is carried out it is a snapshot at that particular moment in time. With new crew joining it has taken them over a month to be able to pass, with no passengers onboard and the vessels not sailing they have done nothing but drill
With the majority of the original crew joining for 8 weeks, within the next 4 weeks there will be a major crew change, irrespective of the fact that the vessel has passed an MCA inspection it will become a highly dangerous vessel in a very short space of time with new crew joining.
The crewing model that P&O is attempting to implement is based on bringing in EU seafarers initially on 8 week contracts and steadily phasing them out over the next couple of months with cheaper labour on longer contracts from India, Honduras etc
Those cew who have returned and assisted the company subconsciously know what they have done is wrong and will also have to deal with the consequences of accepting this, helping the company to bring in a model that jeopardises the safety of crew, passengers and other vessels and will be held responsible when fatalities occur, and they will occur!!
These vessels are not safe and pose a risk to all that sail on them and I hope that the detail in this post will clarify some of the concerns, bring a sense of reality from just one vessel and convince you to encourage others not endanger the life of your family, your friends, your employees by sailing with P&O just because it has been declared safe to sail yesterday.
RMT will be announcing dates for further protests at P&O, we will contiunue to fight for improved safety standards and we are campaigning for a fair ferries framework on all ferries and scheduled services from the UK centred around decent employment which is permanent employment, dignity and respect for seafarers, safe roster patterns but feel it’s important for the public, hauliers, coach companies and members of every trade union not to be fooled by any media reports or propaganda from P&O declaring the vessels as safe following extensive scrutiny by MCA.
Unions to DP World: call time on costly P&O mess, sack Hebblethwaite
Shock, horror, a ship broke down.
And didn’t sink.
Something has come out of the mess at P&O Ferries:
P&O Ferries management have said in the past that they actually wanted the government to bring in the UK minimum wage for ferries.
The reason being that P&O always paid their crew above minimum wage, but many of their competitors don’t.
It meant P&O were kind of in a catch-22 situation, they couldn’t afford to keep paying their staff high wages because if they put their prices up to pay for the wages then their customers would just switch to their competitors who were paying crew below UK minimum wage and could afford to charge their customers less.
Maybe this was a tactic from P&O to try and force the government into bringing in the minimum wage for all companies in order to level the playing field. If it was intentional or not they got what they were looking for now all companies have to pay UK minimum wage.