French politicians unanimously pass new law aiming to protect ship workers

Manche Îles Express bosses previously warned the law would make it difficult for the company to recruit. Credit: ITV Channel TV

French politicians have unanimously backed plans to introduce new laws tightening employment laws for ferry operators.

Manche Îles Express, the company which operates passenger ferries between the Channel Islands and France, previously warned the change would pose recruitment challenges for the firm as it would not be able to continue offering the same perks for staff.

The new legislation aims to protect against "social dumping", the practice of replacing existing staff with overseas workers for worse pay and conditions.

P&O Ferries was accused of a similar act in March 2022 after it laid off nearly 800 members of staff and replaced them with agency workers allegedly earning around £1.80/hour.

All 150 voting members of the French National Assembly favoured bringing in the new law, which will come into force on 1 January 2024. Another 21 MPs abstained or weren't present for the vote.

Once in place, ships risk being banned from docking at French ports if their operators are found to have breached the law.

French MPs are now pushing for the law to be adopted across the European Union.

While Manche Iles Express bosses previously said the law may impact the company's ability to recruit, the Channel Islands' other ferry operator - Condor Ferries - will not be affected as its ships are registered in the Bahamas, rather than France.

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