In a response to the UK Government’s increase in taxpayer support to P&O Ferries, seafarer union RMT has demanded that the company withdraws plans for 1,100 redundancies.
These are mainly planned amongst directly employed UK seafarers in Dover and Hull.
A written answer to Hull East MP, Karl Turner, revealed that P&O Ferries’ payment through the taxpayer funded Critical Freight Grant had increased 36% (£1.25 mill) on the Hull/Rotterdam route.
P&O is seeking to make redundancies amongst UK Ratings on this route whilst retaining foreign agency crew on £4.50 per hour and six month contracts, the union claimed.
In recent correspondence with RMT, UK Shipping Minister, Kelly Tolhurst, advised that “They [P&O] have confirmed they remain committed to a locally sourced workforce and when their market returns P&O will again look to their local labour markets to fill new roles.”
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash (pictured), said; “P&O Ferries want to slash 1,100 jobs, mainly in Hull and Dover by the end of June so they can permanently replace local seafarers with exploited foreign crews when passenger traffic picks up. That much is clear from P&O’s plans for the ’Pride of Hull’ which are an insult to the people of Hull.
“Taxpayer support through the Critical Freight Grant has been bumped up to £14.8 mill and we have shown in talks with P&O that 20% savings can be made without destroying seafarer jobs in Hull or Dover.
“The Government and the (UK) Transport Select Committee need to call P&O Ferries in and get these dangerous redundancy proposals taken off the table, as a matter of urgency,” he stressed.
Break down of UK Critical Freight Grant payments* by route and operator:
Portsmouth-Santander Brittany Ferries – £1,508,265
Portsmouth-Cherbourg Brittany Ferries – £1,042,551
Poole-Bilbao Brittany Ferries – £370,395
Dover-Dunkerque DFDS – £3,068,766
Dover-Calais P&O – £1,173,915 DFDS – £3,770,838
Folkestone-Coquelles (Channel Tunnel) £3,431,863
Cairnryan-Larne P&O – £3,581,685
Tilbury-Zeebrugge P&O – £2,053,206
Teesport-Europoort P&O – £1,098,369
Hull-Europoort P&O – £3,504,249
Hull-Zeebrugge P&O – £1,842,210
Heysham-Warrenpoint Seatruck – £849,159
Rotterdam-Killingholme Stena Line – £2,018,547
Cairnryan-Belfast Stena Line – £1,077,597
Harwich-Rotterdam Stena Line – £1,822,365
Harwich-Hoek van Holland Stena Line – £1,608,003
*Payments are for a nine-week period from 11th May, 2020.