P&O Ferries – Update on week of action

Circular No: NP/054/23




Our ref: S1/1


17th March 2023


Dear Colleagues


P&O Ferries – Update on week of action


Further to Circular no. 027/23 of 3rd February 2023, I am writing to provide an update during RMT’s week of action to mark P&O Ferries grotesque attack on Ratings’ jobs and employment law which continues to go unpunished by this complicit Tory Government.


On Tuesday, the Union’s demonstration and rally in Westminster was well attended by members, trade unions and politicians. The failure of the Government’s measures to win back a single job or adopt safe roster patterns on P&O’s ships of shame was laid bare by speakers from RMT, Nautilus and the TUC. The Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP also committed the next Labour Government to introduce a mandatory Seafarers Charter, setting legally enforceable pay, rostering, pensions, taxation and training standards. This has also been re-iterated in the national press.


Grant Shapps’ Nine Point Plan on P&O was clearly intended to bind the trade unions to an elongated process that will only result in extremely modest changes, through the Seafarers Wages Bill and a voluntary Seafarers Charter. Neither of these will reverse the impact of P&O Ferries actions or prevent a repeat of this attack on jobs and employment rights. And new guidance on fire and re-hire is a total insult to those hard working seafarers treated with such disdain by their former employer.


At the RMT events today in Dover and Hull to mark the first anniversary of this searing injustice, we are demanding the following measures to deliver a fair ferries sector:


  • Compulsory fair pay agreements to protect seafarers’ jobs, conditions and safety on all ferry services from UK ports.
  • End seafarer discrimination and reform international maritime law.
  • Scrap anti-trade union laws to protect seafarers from P&O style attacks.
  • Ban DP World from receiving Freeport tax reliefs.
  • Scrap P&O Ferries Royal Charter.


Yesterday, the Union revealed that DP World made record profits in 2022 and paid out a dividend of over £3 billion. The Conservative Government is effectively protecting P&O and DP World, which is tightening its authoritarian grip on the national ports network through the Freeports policy. 


We will be delivering a message of resistance to DP World at the end of the P&O week of action on Tuesday 21stMarch, 11.30am at DP World Head Office, 16 Palace St, London SW1E 5JQ. There will be a number of speakers and Shipping Branches are strongly encouraged to attend, if possible. Attendance at all P&O week of action events is a legitimate form of branch expenditure.


We also continue to work with the RMT Parliamentary Groups in Westminster and Holyrood to right this rank injustice. Motions have been tabled in both parliaments and supportive MPs and MSPs are seeking debates on the seafarer employment and shipping industry practices which the P&O Ferries scandal exposes.


I would be grateful if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all Shipping Branch members. You will be kept advised of all further developments.


Yours sincerely

Shape, arrow

Description automatically generated

Mick Lynch

General Secretary