A cruise ship operator has denied claims that 900 crew could be fired and rehired if they refuse to accept reduced terms and conditions.

P&O Cruises, which is owned by Carnival UK, has hit back at what it described as "factually inaccurate and damaging reports".

The Nautilus union says Carnival has notified authorities of its intention to alter employment terms and conditions for 919 crew across 10 vessels.

According to Nautilus, the crews affected include those working on P&O Cruises and Cunard, on ships such as the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2.

Nautilus has written to the company calling for it to "withdraw the threat of fire and rehire and engage in meaningful negotiations".

But P&O Cruises said: "We are categorically not making any redundancies and we will not dismiss and re-engage staff.

"In fact, we have significantly increased our headcount across our fleet."

P&O Cruises is an entirely separate company from P&O Ferries, which was embroiled in a dispute over the sacking of hundreds of workers by its owner DP World in March last year.

READ MORE: P&O Ferries sparks fury after sacking 800 workers

Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, said: "It has been almost two years since P&O Ferries illegally sacked 800 workers and replaced them with agency workers paid less than the minimum wage.

“Now history is repeating itself. The lives of hundreds more seafarers are once again being upended by bad bosses who know they can get away with it.

“Ministers have sat on their hands and ignored warning after warning that this would happen again unless they stepped in to change the law. The blame lies with them.

“Labour will end this cycle and end fire and rehire practices for good.”

In a letter to its members Nautilus said: "Please be advised that yesterday evening Nautilus received a HR1: Advanced Notification of Redundancies form which the company has submitted to both the UK government and the Bermudan authorities notifying them of the collective consultation.

The company has advised that although no redundancies are proposed,
consultations relating to working days and working arrangements are underway and dismissal and re-engagement may be considered if agreement cannot be reached on the new terms.

In a letter to members, Nautilus said it was "disappointed" by the company's approach.

It added: "We will continue to robustly defend members' jobs as we do not agree to any redundancies and actively campaign to stop fire and rehire.

"The current proposals are unacceptable to Nautilus, and we will continue to engage with the employer and members of the individual consultation groups."