Carnival UK has denied it’s planning to make up to 919 UK-based crew working on P&O Cruises and Cunard redundant unless they accept new contracts.
The cruise giant began negotiating new contracts with staff earlier this month, but union Nautilus International said Carnival has already informed the UK Government of the possibility of mass redundancies at the cruise lines.
Under UK law, employers are required to notify the Insolvency Service of planned redundancies over 20 at least 30 to 45 days in advance. Fleet Maritime Services, contracted by Carnival to hire staff, informed the organisation of possible redundancies on 15 November, according to the Guardian.
However, a spokesperson for Carnival UK said: “We are categorically not making any redundancies and we will not dismiss and re-engage staff.
“In fact, we have significantly increased our headcount across our fleet. This is an annual pay review process with our maritime officers onboard our ships which will ensure alignment.
“This will empower our staff, deliver the right teams across our fleet and attract and retain talent to work on our ships.”
But a union spokesperson said the fact that Insolvency Service has already been informed of the possibilities of mass redundancies suggested ‘the employer never had any intention of ‘meaningful negotiation’.
They added: “It has placed 919 employees at risk of ‘dismissal and re-engagement’ should consultation not give rise to an agreement.”
Nautilus Senior National Organiser Garry Elliot added: “We continue to urge Carnival UK to withdraw their threat of fire and rehire and engage in meaningful negotiations.
“We also call on the UK Government to learn the lessons from P&O Ferries and outlaw the coercive practice of fire and rehire.
“Employers cannot be allowed to treat their employees with contempt and force through fundamental changes to terms and conditions by playing with their employees’ livelihoods.”
According to the Guardian, in the document submitted to the Insolvency Service, Fleet Maritime Services, said: “No redundancies are proposed. Consultations are related to changes in terms and conditions relating to working days and working arrangements.
“Dismissal and re-engagement may be considered if agreement cannot be reached on new terms.”