P&O Ferries: dismissed sailors march past Parliament to demand action Business News

The head of the main union representing P&O Ferries crew, who was made redundant last week, said the company was taking “unacceptable risk” by employing cheaper overseas labour.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT union, was speaking as he led a march of several hundred protesters through central London to a rally outside parliament.

A debate in the House of Commons will take place later on the action of P&O Ferries. On Thursday morning, he announced to 800 seafarers working on his cross-Channel, North Sea and Irish Sea ships that their jobs had ended and that cheaper interim staff would replace them.

Responding to the union’s safety concerns, a spokesperson for the ferry company said: “Safety is the top priority for P&O Ferries and our crew management partners. They have recruited high quality, experienced sailors who will now become familiar with the vessels, going through all the mandatory training requirements set by our regulators.

“Safety is paramount in our new crew management model, which is used by many of our competitors and has proven to be the industry’s most successful model and the competitive benchmark.

“We will not reduce the number of crews. We don’t have a business if we don’t have a secure business.

But Mr Lynch said: ‘There is no way to get a security clearance in the normal way, after recruiting people from all over the world.

“They take an unacceptable risk with the drivers, with the passengers.

“The government must stop now and seize these ships.”

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: ‘If such egregious action can be prevented, it will give bad bosses around the world the green light to come to this country and exploit our workforce. ‘artwork.”

The opposition is calling on the government to suspend all contracts with P&O Ferries and its parent company, DP World.

Ms Haigh also demanded that Business Secretary Kwazi Kwarteng bring criminal charges “for the unlawful sacking of 800 seafarers”.

The union says replacement crew are paid £1.83 an hour, one-fifth of the UK’s national minimum wage.

The former Labor communications director, Alastair Campbell, tweeted“This is what the Brexit disaster capitalists wanted all along.”

The P&O spokesman said: “We made this difficult decision as a last resort and only after careful consideration of all other options, but ultimately concluded that the business would not survive without fundamentally altered crew arrangements, which would inevitably result in redundancies”.

P&O Ferries said it lost £100million in a year.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-21 16:02:38

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