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Two of P&O Ferries’ competitors are set to meet officials from the Department for Transport to discuss the fallout from P&O’s decision to sack 800 staff

 
Bosses from DFDS and Stena Lines have been invited for talks on Monday as the government plans to force ferries to pay the minimum wage in UK waters.
P&O Ferries prompted outrage when it replaced staff with agency workers paid less than the minimum wage.
The prime minister has backed calls for the boss of P&O Ferries to resign.
Last week, P&O Ferries boss Peter Hebblethwaite admitted to MPs that the decision to sack 800 workers without notice broke the law.
On Saturday, protests took place at several ports, with unions holding demonstrations at Dover, Hull and Liverpool.
Authorities have detained P&O Ferries’ European Causeway in Northern Ireland, saying the vessel was “unfit to sail”.
The ship was held in Larne over “failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training”, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said. P&O Ferries said it would make changes to return the ship to service.
Unions have raised fears over a lack of training of new crew, after P&O replaced their members with agency workers whose average hourly rate of pay would be £5.50 – less than the UK minimum wage.
As the company’s ships operate internationally and are registered overseas, the UK minimum hourly rate of £8.91 does not apply.
P&O Ferries has said it had to replace crews as it was losing £100m a year, and would not be a viable business without making the changes.
However, this week Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to propose measures that will force ferry companies to pay UK minimum wage when a ship is in UK waters.
There has also been concern over the possible disruption to Easter holiday travel plans if P&O ships are unable to sail.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Ministers are working to understand how we can ensure the continuation of services in collaboration with other operators, including DFDS and Stena.”
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