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P&O Ferries fires 800 workers who now refuse to leave ships

P&O Ferries fires 800 workers who now refuse to leave ships
Photo Credit: Peter Huys. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

P&O Ferries has fired 800 seafaring workers with immediate effect, stating that in its current shape “it is not a viable business”.  

Many of those who have been fired are refusing to leave the ships in protest and were told the news on a video call.  

BBC South East received a video of a man saying: “The company has made the decision that its vessels going forward will be primarily crewed by a third-party crew provider. 

“Therefore, I am sorry to inform you that this means your employment is terminated with immediate effect on the grounds of redundancy.” 

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According to the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), security officers with handcuffs were sent to remove the remaining crew, while buses full of agency workers recruited to replace them waited parked alongside the ships at ports. 

“We are pursuing urgent legal action and are once again calling on the Government to take action to halt what is quickly turning into one of the most disgusting actions in the history of British industrial relations,” said Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT. 

My Logistics Magazine is not liable for the content of third-party websites. To view the post on Twitter, click on the link above.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to social media this morning to express his alarm at the news from P&O ferries and stated that he will be speaking with the firm today. 

My Logistics Magazine is not liable for the content of third-party websites. To view the post on Twitter, click on the link above.

The ferry operator, who has suspended sailings “for the next few days”, said in a statement: “In making this tough decision, we are securing the future viability of our business which employs an additional 2,200 people and supports billions in trade in and out of the UK. 

“And we are ensuring that we can continue serving our customers in a way that they have demanded from us for many years.” 

Prior to the pandemic, P&O Ferries transported over 10 million people per year, as well as around 15% of all freight cargo into and out of the UK. Demand plummeted during the epidemic, and it was unable to get a £150 million government bailout, forcing it to announce 1,110 job cutbacks. 

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