P&O Sink to New Depths

After illegally sacking around 800 employees last month, you’d be forgiven for thinking that P&O had gone as low as they could possibly go…

…but they still had a few tricks up their sleeve, it turns out.

The company has been forced into a U-turn on a plan it had been cooking up to pay its new, cheaper agency staff even less money than they were contracted to receive. 

Pretty harrowing reports (we wish we could say ‘unbelievable’ reports…) had been coming in to the RMT Union last week, concerning agency workers at Dover, who were being asked to sign new contracts with lower pay, to replace their existing ones.

Just, wow.

Quick as a flash, the union reported P&O to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which ensured the workers were able to retain their existing wages. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that P&O are yet to comment, especially as they’re still riding the wave from the debacle of the last month and a half…

Agency workers will know the risks associated with short contracts, of course, but to say that it’s their choice to work under these less secure conditions just isn’t the truth at all. The availability (or lack thereof) of decent jobs means that people to have to take on agency work, and we’d bet a few quid that the vast majority of agency workers aren’t working in this way because it’s ‘better for them and their situation’. Come on…

There will always be a few people who prefer things that way, and good luck to them, but security and at the very least, a little reliability, must be high up on anyone’s wish list for the world of work.

Clearly, that’s never going to come from P&O, who have consistently put profits in front of people, and in front of PR too it seems. They’re clearly not bothered what anyone thinks, at board level anyway.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was “good P&O have reversed the further attempt at a pay cut”, but also added that “they must go much further and pay the minimum wage like all UK businesses.”

Well, yeah! That would be nice!

Bringing people in to work on one and two month contracts is one thing, but then coercing them to accept contracts with lower pay just sums this company up. Remember, this is a company who admitted illegally dismissing around 800 employees…

Are you working for the next P&O…?

…because there will be others waiting to make the same decision. They’ve seen how P&O have tested the waters and they may just be waiting for the wind to change before setting sail with their own master plan. Career Garage is able to support agency workers, contracted workers, zero contract workers (all workers, in fact!) who need to sit down and assess their situation, to see what the future holds.

You can make plans before the tide turns. Make sure you don’t get swept away…

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