P&O: Sinking British Jobs

There can’t have been many of us who weren’t shocked by the abrupt sacking of 800 British employees of P&O on Thursday.

The announcement by a recorded video message was a cruel way to deliver the news to the company’s loyal workforce. Union reaction to this outrageous act of throwing British workers onto the scrapheap was swift with the RMT’s Mick Lynch saying:
We are receiving reports that security guards at Dover are seeking to board ships with handcuffs to remove crew so they can be replaced with cheaper labour. We are seeking urgent legal action and are again calling for the government to take action to stop what is fast turning into one of the most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations. If this happens at P&O, it can happen anywhere and we are calling for mass trade union and wider public mobilisation and protest against the company.

Nautilus General Secretary Mark Dickinson weighed in with:
The news that P&O Ferries is sacking the crew across its entire UK fleet is a betrayal of British workers. It is nothing short of scandalous given that this Dubai-owned company received millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money during the pandemic. There was no consultation and no notice given by P&O. Be assured the full resources of Nautilus International stand ready to act in defence of our members’ best interests to stay onboard until further notice.

Manuel Cortes of the TSSA stated:
In any civilised country these actions would not only be unlawful but punishable in the harshest possible terms. Sadly, I doubt the Tory government will lift even their little finger to ensure this happens.

Workers magazine commented:
Remember when workers were told that the call for British jobs for British workers was a racist demand? So, what is it when the entire British workforce is sacked without notice over a Zoom call in order to replace them with a lower-paid foreign workforce?

Solidarity stands four square behind the P&O workers that have been so disgracefully treated by the Dubai owned company. It is scandalous that employees with in many cases a long history of service can be just unceremoniously dumped by an employer.

Unless the decision if reversed when booking any trips by sea we must be sure that this company is not one that we ever use.

P&O Ferry Picture by Fabian318, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Security guard would not be using handcuffs, that would be illegal so that part is fake news. I know because I am a security guard myself.

    1. It’s a little more complicated than that. There is no law in the UK that prevents civilians carrying handcuffs. SIA licensed security operatives have no legal powers over and above other civilians. Use of them could constitute a crime, unless they can show that using them was reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances. The fact that they boarded ships carrying them is an implied threat that they might use them.

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