RMT Union slams UK government over ‘national shame’

On the anniversary of the contentious terminations, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is holding a protest in Westminster.

A union has stated that a year after the almost 800 P&O employees were fired, the government’s response is a national shame.

Workers were abruptly terminated, and their positions were filled by foreign agency workers making less money than the UK minimum wage.

In terms of protecting seafarers, the administration claimed to have moved “decisively” and made significant progress.

Following the huge layoffs, P&O Ferries services were halted, and before being allowed to restart operations, six of the company’s vessels failed safety inspections.

According to the Insolvency Service, there was “no realistic prospect of a conviction,” hence P&O would not be subject to criminal proceedings.

The RMT is holding a week of activities to draw attention to the “lack of sanctions” against DP World or P&O.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the union, stated: “It is a national disgrace that the government has taken no concrete action to punish this rogue company, DP World, for unlawfully sacking 786 seafarers last year.”

“We will continue to campaign for stronger seafarers’ rights through fair pay agreements, revoking P&O Ferries’ Royal Charter, banning DP World from freeport tax reliefs, ending discrimination at sea, and the scrapping of anti-trade union laws.”

It stated in a tweet that the government had taken no action to stop the “illegal sackings”.

A government official stated: “We reacted swiftly and decisively against P&O Ferries’ appalling treatment of its staff, and have made substantial progress on the nine-point plan we set out last year to improve seafarers’ pay and conditions.”

P&O claimed that there was a sizable demand from customers for its services and added that it had made significant fleet investment

“Significant changes in the last year have saved this business, including the 2,200 jobs we secured in coastal communities across the UK,” according to a statement.