Towards a minimum wage in European maritime transport? – Economy

The British government is working with its European partners, including France, on a minimum wage for workers on European shipping routes, following a recent redundancy of 800 employees by ferry company P&O.

“I have already contacted my counterparts in France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland and Germany to raise the issue of minimum wages for sea workers on direct routes between our countries,” Transport Minister Grant announced on Wednesday. Shapps in Parliament, adding that he had already received “a very positive response” from the French side. “Most maritime law is governed by international rules, obligations and treaties, which means that we cannot hope to solve these problems alone”, he argued, establishing “minimum wage corridors” on intra-European sea links. specifying its intention.

a series of measures

The overnight dismissal of 800 sailors by P&O on 17 March, which replaces them with outsourced workers, paid an average of £5.5 (6.5 euros) per hour, well below the British minimum wage that April Fools’ Increases to 9.5 pounds on Day, continues. To make waves in the UK.

The Minister for Transport unveiled a series of measures before the British Parliament on Wednesday that aim to guarantee working and safety conditions on ferries traveling within or within the United Kingdom or the country. Specifically, he plans to give British ports the power on Wednesday to deny access to ferry companies that do not pay their employees minimum wage.

Controls will be strengthened in terms of both working conditions and safety on the ships, the minister warned, while maritime authorities have in recent days stabilized two P&O vessels, one at Dover and the other at Larne in Northern Ireland. In, due to deficiencies in documentation, emergency equipment and crew training. In addition, companies that have not made reasonable efforts to negotiate before implementing layoffs to rehire cheap labor may be subject to a 25% increase in severance pay. Grant Shapps announced.

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It is “too little, too late”, immediately tackled by Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT sector union, in a press release, calling on the government to “faster and more radical reform to save British sailors”. “The prime minister has repeatedly said in parliament that the government will take legal action to save the jobs of P&O sailors, but he has not kept his word,” he lamented.

wave of protest

The transport minister, however, on Wednesday asked a government agency responsible for intervening in cases of misconduct by business leaders whether Peter Heblethwaite, the owner of P&O Ferry Company, should be removed from his position. The latter, which rejected calls for the government’s resignation, also rejected the hypothesis of re-hiring 800 sacked employees, noting that it would lead to “the collapse of the company, with an irreversible loss of 2,200 additional jobs”. with”. P&O continues to say that its current cost model is not sustainable and the company, which has been hit hard by the pandemic and the decline in international travel, is losing £100m a year.


London also announced on Wednesday its intention to advocate with the International Labor Organization for a set of common principles for marine workers, including a minimum wage and a global framework for the training of seafarers. Grant Shapps has again announced reforms to facilitate the registration of ships in the United Kingdom and to improve the attractiveness of the British flag.

About 200 international maritime transport unions and 10,000 workers from the sector wrote to P&O’s Dubai-based parent company DP World on Wednesday to protest the mandatory dismissal of 800 seafarers. A new demonstration is planned in Liverpool on Thursday on the subject.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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