Carnival UK | Cruise firm withdraws 'fire & rehire' threat facing 900+ staff

Cruise firm withdraws 'fire & rehire' threat facing 900+ staff

Cruise firm Carnival UK has withdrawn threats to use ‘fire and rehire’ tactics after it was revealed last week that more than 900 employees could be ‘dismissed and re-engaged' on new contracts.

The company had informed authorities last week including the UK Insolvency Service, about a consultation to modify the terms and conditions of 919 maritime workers across its 10 UK-based ships.

The company operates Cunard ships such as the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, and P&O Cruises (not to be confused with P&O Ferries, a separate company which also came under fire for using ‘fire and rehire’ tactics in 2022).

In the submitted HR1 form, typically utilised for legally notifying redundancies, Carnival UK clarified that no redundancies were proposed but did state: “Dismissal and re-engagement may be considered if agreement cannot be reached on new terms."

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The Nautilus union which represents seafarers, argued that the company's proposals could result in staff losing up to a fifth of of their salary.

However, in new developments, Carnival UK has announced it has withdrawn the HR1 proposal, with both the company and the union announcing a commitment to "engaging in meaningful consultation."

In a statement, they said: “Nautilus International and Carnival UK are able to confirm, following joint discussions held this afternoon, that both parties are committed to engaging in meaningful consultation in finding a way forward following the start of consultation on proposed contractual changes for 919 maritime professionals.

“Carnival UK have reassured Nautilus International of there being no intent to undertake steps towards dismissal and re-engagement and have rescinded the HR1 form submitted to the insolvency service, while providing an update to the relevant Bermudan authorities.

“Both Nautilus International and Carnival UK are working cooperatively towards a negotiated settlement in the interest of all parties.”

Carnival UK explained the HR1 form had been submitted as a legal obligation in “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.”

Commenting on the latest developments, Nautilus executive officer Martyn Gray said: "This is a welcome move from Carnival UK and a positive indication of their commitment to engage in a meaningful consultation with us over changes to members’ terms and conditions. We thank them for their commitment to not dismiss and re-engage and look forward to working with them to come to a negotiated settlement in the interests of all parties.

"However, fire and rehire – or dismissal and re-engagement – should never be an option for any employer to force changes to terms and conditions and the UK government should commit to outlawing this. A statutory code of practice is not enough."

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