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P&O Ferries vessel DETAINED by Coastguard days after hundreds of UK workers suddenly sacked | United Kingdom | News UK News

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said a ferry operated by the company was being held in Larne, Northern Ireland. The agency said the vessel, the European Causeway, was detained following “failures in crew familiarization, vessel documentation and crew training”.

In a statement, it added: “The vessel will remain in detention until all these issues are resolved by P&O Ferries.

“Only then will it be re-inspected.

“The detention of the ships is based on concerns about their safety and to prevent them from going to sea.”

Karl Turner, Labor MP for East Hull, tweeted: “Things are getting worse for P&O Ferries with news that the European Causeway on the Cairnryan-Larne route has failed its Port State inspection.

“The vessel is arrested and detained by the Larne Maritime and Coastguard Agency.”

It comes after the company suddenly fired 800 staff without notice, replacing them with temps.

Workers would be paid less than the UK minimum wage.

Company boss Peter Hebblethwaite has admitted the company broke the law by firing staff without consultation.

Speaking at a House of Commons hearing on Thursday, Mr Hebblethwaite said: “There is no doubt that we were required to consult the unions.

“We chose not to.”

He added: “We felt the change was of such magnitude that no union could accept our proposals.”

Mr Hebblethwaite said the average laid-off sailor was paid £36,000 a year.

He said the decision was made in order to “save the company”, adding: “I would make that decision again, I’m afraid”.

Agency staff replacing laid-off workers will receive an hourly rate from £5.15.

The only exception to this is the Larne-Cairnryan route between Northern Ireland and Scotland, where it will be bound by UK minimum wage law.

Ministers and unions have condemned the company’s decision to lay off staff, with National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers general secretary Mick Lynch describing it as ‘one of the most shameful acts of the history of British industrial relations”.

He said he would seek urgent legal action on the matter.

Maritimes Minister Robert Courts agreed, saying he was “extremely concerned and frankly angry at the treatment”.

He added: “Reports of workers being given no notice and being escorted off their vessels while being told cheaper alternatives will take over their roles shows the insensitive way P&O has approached this issue.”

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Friday morning, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘The idea that you come to Parliament, you admit that you deliberately decided to break the law – it’s no accident or a mistake – in order to lay off your staff and bring in low minimum wage people and you’re going to buy out staff for that, that’s just unacceptable.”

There have been protests at UK ports over P&O’s treatment of workers, with some people calling for a boycott of their services.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-26 00:00:00

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