30/04/2012

P&O Cruise Ship Staff On Basic Hourly Rate Of 75p

Crew on British cruise holidays, who are paid a basic salary of as little as 75p an hour, face having extra tips from passengers withheld unless they hit performance targets.

The boss of P&O Cruises said the move was part of a package to "make crew more responsive" and offer protection as tips dry up in the economic downturn.

At the bottom end of the scale, a junior waiter on a ship sailing out of Southampton now earns a basic salary of £250 a month, for shifts lasting a minimum of 11 hours, seven days a week, with a possible £150 extra in bonuses.

David Dingle, CEO of Carnival UK, in charge of P&O cruise lines, said the crew were "much happier" and the new arrangement was a win-win for passengers, staff and P&O. He said many crew took home over £1,000 a month, but tougher times meant that "sadly, our customers were reluctant to pay the recommended level of tipping".

Cash tips are being phased out in favour of electronic tips automatically added to passengers' bills, which pay for the potential performance bonus. As passengers could opt out of paying, Dingle said, the firm was "taking the risk out" by paying bonuses if targets were met. "We've handled it fairly and decently and made sure their pay is being protected," he said.

(H/GK)


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