P&O Ferries workers ‘disembarked from ships by men in balaclavas’ as 800 staff laid off
P&O Ferries workers were fired via video message today but some are not taking it lying down and refusing to leave their boat until further talks take place
P&O Ferries workers were carried off the ships by men in balaclavas as the company laid off 800 employeessaid one MP.
Ferry staff lost their jobs as P&O downsized via video message.
A P&O The spokesperson said the company had to lay off workers due to the loss of £100million year-on-year.
All staff on board P&O ferries have been ordered to leave, some with just five minutes notice.
But the crew of the P&O ship Pride of Hull refuse to leave in protest.
Labor MP Diana Johnson told the Commons today: ‘I understand from the RMT union [the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers] that these agency employees, mostly from overseas, are in buses on the dock with a security company…wearing balaclavas and removing British crew from these ships.
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She added: “It is shameful and goes against all standards of fair and reasonable behavior and it is clear that foreign notes will be employed on less favorable terms than our current British sailors.
“And this is a race to the bottom under conditions reminiscent of the worst Thatcherite policies.”
General secretary Mick Lynch of the RMT union said: “We are receiving reports that security officers in Dover are seeking to board ships in handcuffs to remove crew so they can be replaced by a hand- cheaper labor.
“We are seeking urgent legal action and again call on the government to take action to stop what is fast becoming one of the most shameful acts in the history of UK industrial relations.
“If this happens at P&O it can happen anywhere and we are calling for mass union mobilization and wider public mobilization and protest against the company.”
the Pride of Hull normally sails on a P&O route from Hull to Rotterdam.
East Hull MP Karl Turner said on Twitter: “I hear the Captain of the Pride of Hull will refuse to allow the police to board the vessel if @POferries ask them to do it.”
A sit-in was called for earlier today by the RMT.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “We have asked our members to stay on board and demand that our members through UK P&O operations be protected, and that the Secretary of State step in to save seafarers British jobless queuing.”
Dozens of other P&O staff blocked a port road in Dover in protest.
Affected staff held banners and flags saying ‘Stop P&O job cutting’.
Staff began to protest after buses carrying temporary workers hired to replace them arrived at the Port of Kent.
One of the protesters, who had worked for P&O for decades, told the PA news agency: “I refuse to leave this road. All this service for nothing.
“The police will have to take me away.”
The demonstrators then began to chant “Support local jobs” before heading to another road.
A 54-year-old man, who has worked in the engine rooms of ferries since the 1980s, said: “I’m furious, to be honest with you. I know people who have been with the company for years – that’s not is no way to treat people.”
P&O employs 3,000 people and owns 20 ships.
A P&O spokesman said the company needed to lay off staff or it would not be a “viable business”.
They added: “Our survival depends on rapid and significant change now. Without these changes there is no future for P&O Ferries.
“These circumstances resulted in a very difficult but necessary decision, which was only taken after seriously considering all available options.
“As part of the process we are starting today, we are providing 800 seafarers with immediate notice of termination and will compensate them for this lack of notice with enhanced benefits.”