Maritime union, RMT has called for P&O Ferries’ owner DP World to be called out for describing the sacking of 800 workers allegedly illegally fired and replaced with low paid agency staff in March, as an ‘amazing’ job.
RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch (pictured) said that the UK government, which has already denounced P&O for its actions, should act against such companies that trash the law and maritime safety standards with impunity in order to make a quick buck while their owners cheer them on.
“This cannot be tolerated. Employers like P&O, hell-bent on attacking workers’ rights to profit their owners in Dubai, must face effective legal consequences at an international level,” he said.
Dubai-based Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World CEO, which has owned the British ferry company since 2019, said that it was too late to reverse the mass-sacking decision because it was ‘in the past’.
He also attacked UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson who had called for P&O Ferries CEO, Peter Hebblethwaite, to resign after he ‘brazenly’ admitted breaking employment law when crew were fired over Zoom without notice.
“The decision was their decision… we did not interfere and tell them what to do. Peter has done an amazing job because he managed to save the company instead of 3,000 people out of a job,” Sulayem said.
The unionised workforce at P&O were replaced by a ‘third party crew provider’, which turned out to be low paid foreign agency workers in an outrageous example of social dumping designed to drive down wages and increases profits, the RMT said.
A a result of the furore, the UK Government has cancelled a contract with P&O Ferries.
The UK Home Office confirmed that a P&O agreement with UK Border Force would come to an end with immediate effect.
This agreement was put in place to provide contingency travel services to juxtaposed ports. Juxtaposed ports were described as UK border controls set up in Calais, Dunkirk and some railway stations in France and Belgium, where goods and passengers are checked ahead of travel.
The contract involved sending border staff to northern France if there was a problem with the Channel Tunnel.
UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, recently tweeted: “We’re reforming maritime law to stop firms exploiting legal loopholes and protect workers’ rights.”