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Cruise operator withdraws conditions threat

1 December 2023

MS Arvia, the latest and largest ship operated by P&O Cruises. Photo Gérard via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Cruise operator Carnival UK has quickly withdrawn a reported threat to fire and rehire over 900 maritime professionals. Urgent negotiations with their union, Nautilus International, resulted in clarification by the company that they would not take such action.

Nautilus had just begun negotiations with the company when it was surprised by news of a notice sent to the Insolvency Service which stated that “Dismissal and re-engagement may be considered if agreement cannot be reached on new terms.”


Suspicions were aroused as the union members faced the possibility of an enforced 20 per cent cut in days worked, with a drop in income. They were also mindful of the events at P&O Ferries last year when workers were summarily fired and replaced by cheaper staff supplied by an agency. That provoked strong trade union opposition.

The company said the reports about its plans were “factually inaccurate”, but did not deny that it had failed to inform the union. After discussion with the union, it withdrew the notice made to the Insolvency Service and confirmed that it had no intention of dismissals and re-engagement or making redundancies.

Not enough

Nautilus welcomed the company’s statement and is looking to meaningful negotiations on any changes to conditions. Their official Martyn Gray said, “…fire and rehire…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.”

Carnival operates under several brands, including Cunard and P&O Cruises but is an entirely separate company from P&O Ferries. Three of the seven P&O Cruises ships are British-flagged, the other four are registered in Bermuda – as are all three Cunard ships.