5,000 signatures reached
To: The Prime Minister
Save P&O Jobs - Save Britain's Ferries
Dear Prime Minister
Over 900 UK seafarers and 200 port staff, mainly in Dover and Hull face redundancy and unemployment as a result of P&O Ferries plans to permanently slash labour costs during Covid-19.
We call on the UK Government to protect these key maritime jobs from being lost to communities and the economy by:
• Making all taxpayer support provided to P&O Ferries conditional on
protecting jobs and training for UK seafarers, particularly on routes
from Dover and Hull
• Demanding P&O Ferries continue furloughing UK seafarers and port
workers rather than using redundancy schemes
• Purchasing P&O Ferries’ Royal Charter from parent company DP World
• Outlawing nationality based pay discrimination against seafarers
• Bringing P&O Ferries’ fleet back onto the UK Ship Register
• Training more British Ratings to fill the dangerous skills gap in the UK
Why is this important?
As an island nation the UK relies on seafarers working on roll-on roll-off ferries to keep the economy going. From Dover and Hull alone, these workers move 11 million passengers and over 26m tonnes of road freight in a year.
The taxpayer is subsidising the wages of furloughed P&O staff and P&O’s vital freight routes during the pandemic through an estimated £25m support. To date, the Government has refused to make this taxpayer support conditional on protection of key seafarer jobs and skills in struggling port communities where P&O’s operations have a huge economic influence.
P&O Ferries, a company established by Royal Charter in 1840, state that they need £150m to continue operating. The company has furloughed over 1,400 staff, mainly UK seafarers but are now seeking to make 1,100 redundancies including 900 seafarers in Dover and Hull by the end of June. Parent company DP World paid out a £270m dividend on 29 April based on over £1bn profit made in 2019. DP World purchased P&O Ferries for £322m in February last year.
Ferries remain one of the last areas of major employment for domestic seafarers and are the lifeline supply link between the UK economy and the rest of the world. Successive Government’s have failed to prevent UK seafarers from being replaced by cheaper foreign crews on ferries and other ships working from UK ports, to the extent that UK seafarers held under a quarter of over 67,000 jobs in 2019.
P&O Ferries plans would cut 8% from the UK’s total number of Ratings, sending seafarer jobs and skills in struggling port communities into a potential death spiral as employers import Ratings from overseas on wages well below the National Living Wage of £8.72 per hour and on contracts that demand 12 hour days, 7 days a week for 6 months. There are serious maritime safety risks whenever seafarers are required to work exhausting contracts like this.
Please support the RMT’s petition to save 1,100 jobs at P&O Ferries and help re-build Britain’s ferry industry.