Unions report that P&O Ferries Ltd. had been paying $2.38 per hour to replacement workers, less than one-quarter of the UK’s minimum wage after it fired almost 800 workers abruptly last week.
The RMT union represents P&O’s employees. On Monday, it said in a statement that Indian seafarers hired to replace the sacked workers were being exploited, and asked UK’s government to take charge of the firm before it gets too late.
P&O has refused to comment on wage allegations of the union. The U.K.’s minimum wage currently for those who are over 23 years old is 8.91 pounds an hour.
Opposition politicians and union leaders staged protests outside UK’s Parliament on Monday over mass firing. Dubai-based DP World is the owner of P&O. He said it was compelled to fire workers when the earlier operating model required an urgent overhaul, with annual losses exceeding 100 million pounds. It was being covered by the owner. The ferry’s operator said that it had offered improved severance terms to workers to compensate for the lack of consultation and warning.
When the firing was declared on Thursday, ministers and lawmakers demanded urgent answers from the firm and raised the prospect of taking legal actions. During the weekend, the Times newspaper reported that the government, including PM Boris Johnson’s office, had been informed about the decision to fire the workers the day before but did not challenge it.
Reports of Saturday suggest that some P&O officers had been contacted by International Ferry Management, the crewing firm P&O, hired to supply staff for vessels.
Officers had been offered a 20,000-pound bonus if they wanted to take their old roles by this week and to a settlement with P&O Ferries, the newspaper informed, citing an employment offer it informed that it had seen.
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