Carnival UK, the prominent cruise ship company that owns P&O Cruises and Cunard, is facing accusations of intending to terminate the employment of over 900 crew members unless they agree to new job terms and conditions.
The company informed authorities about its “fire and rehire” plan just one day after initiating discussions with union representatives.
The Nautilus union alleges that this move indicates Carnival UK’s lack of genuine intent to engage in meaningful negotiations.
Carnival UK contends that it is not initiating any layoffs and denies engaging in a “fire and rehire” strategy.
However, the Nautilus union, representing potentially affected workers, claims that Carnival UK has notified authorities in the UK and Bermuda about its intention to alter employment terms for 919 crew members across 10 vessels, including those on P&O Cruises, the Queen Elizabeth, and the Queen Mary 2.
According to the union, Carnival UK’s proposed changes would effectively reduce working days by 20%, resulting in a decrease from 243 days to 200 days per year and subsequently reducing income.
Nautilus asserts that these changes are non-negotiable and are being imposed, causing distress among members, especially due to the perceived loss of flexibility in scheduling work.
While Carnival UK insists that it is conducting an annual pay review process to align with maritime officers on its ships, the union argues that the company’s actions indicate a lack of willingness to engage in meaningful negotiation.
The Nautilus union has called on Carnival UK to withdraw the “fire and rehire” threat and engage in genuine negotiations.
Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh criticized the situation, stating that history was repeating itself, with the livelihoods of hundreds of seafarers disrupted by employers taking advantage of current employment laws.
Nautilus’s senior national organizer, Garry Elliot, urged the government to learn from past incidents and prohibit the coercive practice of “fire and rehire,” emphasizing that employers should not be allowed to make fundamental changes to terms and conditions at the expense of their employees’ livelihoods.
Last Updated: 24 November 2023