Demonstrations planned on Friday after 800 P&O Ferries workers sacked and replaced

A collection of demonstrations might be held on Friday (March 18) towards P&O Ferries “appalling” determination to sack 800 seafarers. Unions and politicians alike condemned the transfer, which the corporate blamed on losses of £100 million following the stoop in journey brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) is searching for authorized recommendation so as to problem the sackings. It stated the UK has seen one of the “vicious examples of despotic employer behaviour” and one of the shameful episodes in its latest industrial historical past.

Saying the choice on Thursday, the ferry operator, purchased by Dubai-based logistics big DP World in 2019, insisted the choice to chop jobs was “very difficult, but necessary” because it was “not a viable business” in its present state. The 800 staff had been sacked instantly with out discover, to allow them to get replaced by cheaper labour.

Safety guards boarded ships with handcuffs to take away fired crew, it was alleged. The union has known as for mass commerce union and wider public help for demonstrations in Dover, Liverpool and Hull on Friday.

In a message to its members, RMT normal secretary Mick Lynch stated: “It was with deep shock that I learned the news of the wholesale job cuts taking place at P&O Ferries, but I am sure that my shock was nothing as compared to the devastation this news brought to you and your colleagues.

“P&O’s determination to put off 800 employees is a kick within the tooth to the hard-working members of employees who’ve saved the enterprise working by means of the worldwide well being disaster. The RMT has obtained experiences that safety guards at Dover have boarded ships with handcuffs to take away crew to allow them to get replaced with cheaper labour. This union is horrified that P&O Ferries can deal with their loyal workforce in such a despicable method.

“P&O Ferries claimed almost £15 million in Government grants in 2020, which included furlough payments for its employees. P&O is owned by DP World, the multi-national ports and logistics company based in Dubai. It paid a £270 million dividend to shareholders in 2020.

“This appalling scenario has arisen on account of DP World wishing to maximise their income and the failure of the Authorities to intervene and defend the roles of you and your colleagues. Your union is searching for recommendation on what authorized motion could be taken.”

Conservative MP Huw Merriman, chairman of the Transport Select Committee, said P&O had made “an appalling error”. He added: “If they don’t reverse instantly and reinstate the staff and observe correct course of, it’s exhausting to see a means again for them commercially.”

“The mother or father DP World wants to know that the British public is not going to do enterprise with firms who deal with their staff with such contempt.”

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “This isn’t a company restructure. It’s not the best way we go about enterprise on this nation. It’s beneath contempt; the motion of thugs.”

A P&O Ferries statement read: “We’ve got made a £100 million loss year-on-year, which has been coated by our mother or father, DP World. This isn’t sustainable. Our survival relies on making swift and vital adjustments now. With out these adjustments there is no such thing as a future for P&O Ferries.”

Sailings were halted on Thursday morning and will remain suspended “for the subsequent few days,” P&O Ferries told passengers. P&O Ferries operates four routes: Dover to Calais; Hull to Rotterdam; Liverpool to Dublin; and Cairnryan, Scotland, to Larne, Northern Ireland.

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