Government talking a good game on P&O action but clock is ticking – Carmichael

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called on the government to bring forward its planned package of measures to respond to P&O Ferries’ attack on seafarers’ rights before the parliamentary recess this Thursday. Speaking in Parliament, Mr Carmichael highlighted both the need for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s inspections of P&O vessels to be published in full, and for the government to look at options to challenge the company’s failure to inform authorities in the UK and in P&O’s flag states.

Speaking in the House Mr Carmichael said:

“It surely has to be the case that the results of inspections [by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency] will be published in full so the public can have confidence in what is being done, but as well as being in breach of their duty to inform the Secretary of State about their intentions, it appears that P&O are also in breach of their duty to inform flag states. Is that a matter that the government intends to pursue?”

Responding for the government, Robert Courts MP said:

“We are considering any options that may be relevant after the actions of P&O last week – we consider all of them.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“The minister talked a good game today about the package of measures that is coming to tackle P&O’s misbehaviour – we shall have to see if reality matches rhetoric. The government was clearly asleep at the wheel as this crisis crept up and allowed operators to think they could act with impunity to sweep away seafarers’ rights. If they want to restore some semblance of confidence then they must act quickly.

“Robert Courts was challenged today to bring this government plan to Parliament before the Easter recess arrives on Thursday. That, surely, has to be the yardstick by which to measure their response. Seafarers facing the loss of their income and the degradation of their working conditions cannot afford to wait any longer for ministers to catch up. The clock is ticking.”

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