P&O owners should face consequences for ‘one of the most shameful acts in UK industrial relations’

Last Updated: March 19, 2022By Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Moored: P&O ferries in harbour – and that’s where they should stay until the firm – and its parent organisation, DP World – sorts out fair treatment for the 800 UK staff they illegally sacked without notice.

There’s no question that the mass sacking of 800 UK citizens working for P&O ferries was illegal.

The RMT union has described it as “one of the most shameful acts in British industrial relations”.

And it is: 800 workers were told their contracts had been terminated and were escorted off their ships by handcuff-trained, balaclava-wearing security guards, to be replaced by cheaper, agency workers.

The sacking of P&O’s entire UK seafaring staff without notice is contrary to even this country’s lax employment laws, because they demand that any employer planning to sack more than 100 staff must give ministers 45 days’ notice – and the government was not told about the plan at all.

If the government had been told, it would have been able to act on behalf of the workers, either to get better conditions of release, or to find alternative employment for them, or both. That can’t happen now.

Considering these circumstances, it seems clear that P&O’s behaviour is an act of intentional harm to its loyal staff.

Yes, there have been demonstrations of protest – but these have been hamstrung by the Tory government’s own support of “fire-and-rehire” practices that force workers to accept worse pay and conditions so bosses can profit.

Natalie Elphicke was caught out by this at a demo in Dover:

Apparently Labour’s John McDonnell was also there – but his party leader, Keir Starmer, is also a (covert) fan of “fire-and-rehire” because he decided that the money problems he created for himself meant he had to fire around 90 staff, then take on 50 again on short-term contracts.

Protests are fine but direct action is better.

This Writer would certainly advise anyone who has booked passage on a P&O ferry to cancel and seek alternative provision.

I would advise anyone using P&O to carry freight to do the same.

The company is owned by a Dubai-based corporation – port operator DP World. Any UK business in a position to do so should find a way to penalise that organisation too.

Back in the day, the government would have sent gunboats to blockade their ports but our spineless, mendacious Tories wouldn’t dream of doing anything so bold.

The only successful way to negotiate with these people is to attack their profits.

Otherwise they get away with it.

Source: ‘Scandalous betrayal’: MPs condemn P&O Ferries for mass sacking of 800 staff | Travel & leisure | The Guardian

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