Sunday People




SHAMED P&O Ferries continues to recruit cheap agency staff from abroad after throwing almost its entire UK seafaring workforce overboard last year.

The company – which admitted breaking the law by sacking 800 people without notice in 2022 – plans to staff vessels via a Maltabased crewing agency.

Philcrew was set up on April 6 and is registered to an address shared with more than 20 other companies. A document sent to staff states it will “serve P&O Ferries only”.

Workers must sign up with Philcrew if they “wish to continue work on P&O Ferries’ vessels” and contracts will “continue to be reviewed”.

And one entry in the Q&A document appears to address fears over areas of focus, asking: “Will Philcrew only source from the Philippine­s?” The answer given is: “Philcrew intend to work with their partners in other countries as well as the Philippine­s to fulfil P&O Ferries’ requiremen­ts.”

Union Nautilus Internatio­nal said: “P&O Ferries is determined to continue to recruit agency labour from abroad on lower wages and poor conditions.” General secretary Mark Dickinson added: “This latest developmen­t is just a further example of the contemptuo­us approach the company takes to its employees.”

Labour MP Richard Burgon accused the Government of turning a blind eye to P&O Ferries’ “unscrupulo­us” actions.

He said: “This is shameless stuff from P&O. They got exposed last year for treating workers like dirt and were unapologet­ic about breaking employment law. They should stop the drive towards Victorian-era treatment of workers. And the Government should finally take real action.”

In March 2022, P&O replaced almost its entire UK seafaring staff with agency crew. Chief executive Peter Hebblethwa­ite was branded a criminal at a parliament­ary hearing into the sackings, in which staff in average £36,000 roles were replaced with foreign crew on £5.15 an hour.

P&O Ferries was approached for comment.

A MAN appeared in court accused of pretending to be a police officer and trying to arrest Tory MP Sir Gavin Williamson.

Simon Parry, 44, allegedly followed the former Education Secretary near the Commons and “brought out a warrant card”, Westminste­r magistrate­s heard.

Parry, who lives in a protest camp, denies stalking and impersonat­ing a police officer. His trial was set for October.

 ?? ?? CONTROVERS­Y P&O’S Spirit of Britain
ANGER Protest in Dover last April
SLAMMED Chief executive Hebblethwa­ite
CONTROVERS­Y P&O’S Spirit of Britain ANGER Protest in Dover last April SLAMMED Chief executive Hebblethwa­ite

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