Carnival UK withdraws ‘fire-and-rehire’ threat

Carnival UK is withdrawing a threat to use a controversial strategy known as “fire-and-rehire” in negotiations over the pay and conditions for more than 900 crew at the cruise operator.

Trade union Nautilus said the move followed urgent discussions.

In a joint statement Carnival and Nautilus said the tactic was being dropped.

Instead they would work “co-operatively towards a negotiated settlement”, the statement said.

Nautilus executive officer Martyn Gray said the withdrawal was a “positive indication” of Carnival UK’s commitment to negotiate over changes to terms and conditions for the 919 crew members affected.

“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,” he said.

It is not currently illegal to fire and then rehire staff. But in practice it is only considered acceptable as a last resort, and as long as the correct procedures are followed.

Under UK law, employers planning to make 20 or more staff redundant within any 90-day period, must first consult staff and speak to trade union representatives.

On Thursday, Nautilus said documentation that Carnival had filed with the authorities showed that the firm had been considering using a “fire-and-rehire” strategy to push through a cut to working hours and pay for crew working on 10 vessels, including the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary 2.

The documentation, known as a Form H1, included the statement “dismissal and re-engagement may be considered if agreement cannot be reached on new terms”.

Carnival, which operates P&O Cruises and Cunard, responded with a statement denying it planned to pursue a fire-and-rehire strategy and said it was “categorically not making any redundancies”.

In the joint statement issued on Friday, Carnival confirmed there was “no intent to undertake steps towards dismissal and re-engagement”. It said the HR1 form had been rescinded.

Related Articles

Back to top button