testata inforMARE

17 May 2022 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 13:55 GMT+2

May 11, 2022

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Original news
Trade unions call on ILO for urgent action in favour of of the 800 seafarers licensed by P&O Ferries

Accuses the government in London of violating the treaties as well International

A group of trade unions and trade union federations, including the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), the Nautilus International, rail, maritime and transport workers (RMT), Trades Union Congress (TUC), the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), have lodged a formal complaint with International Labour Organization (ILO) asking the UN agency for a urgent action in favour of the 800 seafarers who have been fired last March by P&O Ferries ( of 17 March 2022).

In the complaint, confirming the perplexities expressed by Nautilus International on the legislative proposal submitted yesterday by the government of London to safeguard the rights of seafarers ( of 11 May 2022), the inability of the government of the United Kingdom to enforce labour laws and to enforce sanctions to ensure compliance with the rules following of the initiative of P&O Ferries that - recalled the trade unions - was hired in violation of the laws as admitted by the shipping company itself. Initiative - highlighted the unions - which represents a serious violation of ILO principles of liberty of association and collective bargaining. The trade unions have specified that with the failure to respond to the P&O action Ferries the British government has also violated the treaties international to which the United Kingdom is bound and, in consideration of the seriousness of the matter, they asked the urgent personal intervention of the ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, to signal to the United Kingdom his failure to compliance with recognised labour standards international.

"The CEO of P&O Ferries - ha recalled the Secretary General of the ITF, Stephen Cotton - provided that the company behaved illegally when laid off 800 seafarers without notice in March, and told the parliament that would do it again. P&O Ferries - denounced Cotton - behaved in the most calculated and serious and expects to get away with it. P&O Ferries has trampled on the right to freedom of association and to collective bargaining of these workers. This is the consequence of this company that has blatantly ignored the its legal obligations to consult seafarers and their unions before firing them en masse on Zoom, escort them off ships with security guards ready to use handcuffs and replace them with paid non-unionized workforce with only a fraction of the salary."

Pointing out that the company has deliberately put in place these and other serious behaviors, Cotton admitted that, for how P&O Ferries' actions were not at all correct, the trade unions, on the basis of the current legislation British, they had few avenues to contest the actions of the company. "Through the ILO - explained the secretary General FTT - we call for the UK to strengthen its labor laws so that workers can actually rely on the rights that the government claims they have."

"There must be - added Cotton - a real dissuasion against dishonest employers. Want that managers are put in a position that they cannot exercise if they deliberately ignore the right to consult the workers. There should be no limit to the compensation that a worker may receive for an employer who does not he asks."

In this regard, the secretary general of Nautilus International, Mark Dickinson, recalled that "fifty days after this self-provoked crisis, the CEO of P&O Ferries, Peter Hebblethwaite, who admitted to having broken the law, did not pay any price for the dismissal illegal of our associates. He - said Dickinson - if it must go."

According to the Secretary-General of the FTT, in addition, the government of the United Kingdom should have allowed trade unions and workers to seek injunctive relief from the courts that would could freeze the dismissals and even revoke them. "Incapacity of the Government of the United Kingdom to enforce its own laws on the work - added Livia Spera, Secretary General of the ETF - sets a dangerous precedent for employers dishonest people from all over Europe. Ministers - he urged - must intervene, remedy this mess, so as not we will never again witness the life of another worker torn apart from such insensitive industrial relations practices and calculate'.

Announcing the submission of the complaint to the ILO, unions have specified what changes to the laws of the Kingdom United they would like them to be adopted, starting with allowing unions to request an injunction to prevent them from having effect unlawful dismissals or to reinstate workers; the introduction of legislation requiring bargaining collective at sector level between trade unions and employers in report to all ferries serving UK ports and make collective agreements binding by law; the elimination of the prohibition of secondary industrial action if the employer has failed to comply with the obligation to consult the trade union. In addition, the unions hope that the failure to consultation of trade unions is considered a criminal offence attributable to the company and its directors, punishable by unlimited penalties, removing the limit on compensation for non-consultation which is currently limited to 90 days of contractual remuneration, and urge to modify the Regulation on the protection of workers in the event of the transfer of companies (TUPE) of 2006 to allow trade unions to ask an injunction for the suspension of transfer procedures until a full and significant consultation. In addition, the amendment of the statutes is required of workers (Employment Rights Act 1996) to prohibit "fire and rehire" practices used by P&O Ferries, the adoption of more legislation is required strict and not taking into account the flag State of the vessel at the in order to protect all seafarers from all forms of discrimination, thus allowing the UK authorities greater possibilities of intervention even if a ship is registered in a foreign State and the modification of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 to make the omission consultation of one of the grounds for revocation of qualifications to managers of companies.

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