P&O Ferries staff protest after mass firing


P&O Ferries staff protest after mass firing

P&O Ferries staff have been staging protests across the country today after the firm sacked 800 employees without any notice.

The RMT and Nautilus unions called for action across the ports of Dover, Liverpool, Hull, and Larne.

Nearly a quarter of P&O Ferries’ staff were told that it was their “final day of employment” via a surprise video message.

The company had alluded to a ‘major announcement’ yesterday morning, cancelling its services and asking boats to stay in port.

P&O said it was a “tough” decision but it would “not be a viable business” without the changes.

However, unions have hit out against the dismissal, saying it marked a “dark day” in the shipping industry.

The UK government said they are looking “very closely” at the action P&O Ferries has taken to see if they broke any laws after it fired its employees, planning to replace them with cheaper agency staff.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the widespread public and political support for our campaign to protect our member’s jobs and these vital services.

“We welcome the fact that the government’s own MPs are calling for radical action and yesterday’s events should also mark a sea change in how we treat workers in this country.

“The fact that the government knew the day before that a foreign-owned company planned to cause major disruption to UK ports but did nothing to prevent it is shocking.

“But there is still time to reverse this shameful decision and today we are presenting a plan of action which needs to be acted upon immediately and if necessary, the government should introduce enabling legislation to make it happen.

“We will also be taking our demands to the Tory Party conference in Blackpool tomorrow.”

At Hull King George Docks, where the operator has temporarily ceased its regular service to Rotterdam, hundreds of people came together to protest.

Crowds gathered at the port with banners and flags, displaying slogans such as “workers of the world unite”.

In the midday sunshine, chants of “P&O, we say no” rang out through harbours at Hull, Liverpool, and Dover.

(Image: Communist Party/Twitter)

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Ellie joined Gi Media in July 2021.