P&O Ferries has rejected suggestions made by Nautilus International to avoid compulsory redundancies by using the UK government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The company wants to close the Hull-Zeebrugge service and dispose of the Pride of York and the Dover-based vessels European Seaway and Pride of Burgundy. The Union has previously made several proposals to minimise proposed redundancies, however these were rejected by senior management as being based on a ‘champagne analysis on a lemonade budget’.
'I wrote to Peter Hebblethwaite, (Managing Director, ROPAX) requesting that the company give consideration to utilise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to ensure that maritime professionals would not be made compulsory redundant and would therefore, remain with the company until at least 31 March 2021,' Nautilus head of industrial Micky Smyth said. P&O rejected this new suggestion, however.
Nautilus has once again written to P&O Ferries, expressing extreme disappointment. Mr Smyth emphasised that these actions suggest the company is only focused on short-term savings due to the current crisis.
Following the company’s 'champagne analysis, lemonade budget' statement, despite proposing to spend at least £1.2m on refurbishing onboard refreshment facilities on three vessels on the Dover/Calais route, it now remains for senior management to restore the mutual trust of the maritime professionals Nautilus represent at P&O Ferries.