Ferries that dock at British ports will be forced to pay crew at least the UK minimum wage, according to new legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech.
P&O has been reported as paying some workers a basic rate of just £3.94 an hour, less than half the national living wage of £9.50 for people aged 23 and above. The disgraced company resumed sailings from ports across the UK less than a month after admitting it acted illegally when it sacked almost 800 workers in March.
“We will protect all seafarers regularly sailing in and out of UK ports and ensure they are not priced out of a job. Ferry operators that regularly call at UK ports will face consequences if they do not pay their workers fairly,” said transport secretary Grant Shapps.
“P&O Ferries’ disgraceful actions do not represent the principles of our world-leading maritime sector and changing the law on seafarer pay protection is a clear signal to everyone that we will not tolerate economic abuse of workers.”
Titled The Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill, the legislation will see the creation of “minimum wage corridors” on ferry routes between the UK and other countries.