May 12, 2022

P&O Ferries fires new temporary workers for drinking on the job

P&O Ferries has fired seven of its new agency workers for drinking while on duty.

The staff – who were part of the new agency team that P&O was using after laying off 800 of its staff with immediate effect in March – breached the company’s drinking rules.

A company representative said: ‘We can confirm that seven agency seafarers who returned from shore breached our strict drinking guidelines and were dismissed with immediate effect.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority and we continue to operate a zero-tolerance policy towards the consumption of alcohol while on duty.”

Many P&O workers laid off in March were notified by a pre-recorded video message.

New staff have been brought in to help the business run more profitably, but several P&O ferries in Dover have been unable to operate in recent weeks due to inspections and safety concerns.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has confirmed that the Pride of Kent is being held at the Port of Dover after carrying out a safety inspection, while the European Highlander is being held at the Port of Larne in Northern Ireland .

A total of eight P&O Ferries vessels are screened by the MCA under the Port State Control regime.

After the incorporation of agency workers, RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport) union boss Mick Lynch expressed concerns about safety, telling the BBC Today program: “We don’t think it’s safe to bring in a crew that hasn’t even seen the ships and have them sail a few days after being introduced to them.”

Demonstrations against the P&O sacking of hundreds of workers took place again in Dover on Tuesday, starting with the headquarters of the RMT union.

Workers and their allies chanted ‘Sack the board’ and ‘They say low wages, we say no’ as they marched through the city.