Stop the P&O Jobs Massacre & Boycott P&O – update

Circular No.NP/78/22

To all Branches and Regional Councils

21st March 2022

Dear Colleagues

Stop the P&O Jobs Massacre & Boycott P&O – update

I am writing to update you on the actions the Union has taken in response to the utterly disgraceful actions of P&O Ferries in dismissing 600 UK Ratings and 200 Officers.

Firstly, we understand that a number of crewing agencies, including Clyde Marine and Colombia Ship Management are recruiting seafarers to work on the affected ships which remain tied up in dock. Ukrainian and Indian crew have been recruited, some on 8-weeks on 8-weeks off contracts paying $1,600 per month. This shows the immoral and dangerous depths P&O and DP World are prepared to go to break the Union and outsource jobs.

I have written to the Transport Secretary, Business Secretary and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to demand an immediate response to P&O’s illegal jobs massacre in Dover, Hull, Cairnryan and Larne. Liverpool, where P&O already crew two of their vessels with Filipino Ratings paid below the NMW are also part of this campaign.

We have also had a meeting with the Shipping Minister, Robert Courts MP in which he was told in no uncertain terms that the Government must intervene directly to restore our members jobs and take direct legal and legislative action against P&O if they refuse.

We have demanded action from the MCA to enforce core safety, Maritime Labour Convention and other laws protecting crew and maritime safety. These vessels should not re-enter service in these seriously unsafe circumstances.

We have held numerous demonstrations and received widespread political and public support and a high amount of press coverage as we have successfully kept this in the news every day since the sackings.

We have been in regular contact with unions at home and abroad to help supply pressure and have been in regular contact with legal teams to explore all legal options.

We have engaged in extensive lobbying of politicians on a cross party basis and have met with Keir Starmer, and the Labour Party has secured a debate in Parliament later today on a motion that calls for the immediate re-instatement of all 800 sacked seafarers, a suspension of DP World’s contracts and legislation to strengthen workers’ rights, including the prohibition of fire and re-hire. There will be a Commons vote on this later today, after the Union’s rally outside Parliament at 2.30pm. MPs have been briefed by the Union in advance of this debate.

Our demands to politicians and the public are quite clear:

The government to demand that P&O reverse its decision and hold negotiations with the unions so that 800 jobs and key supply chain services can be reinstated. If this does not happen the government should take over the P&O vessels as an ‘operator of last resort.’

Remove any government support for P&O owners Dubai World, including future contracts and directly support the retention of P&O jobs instead.

A widespread public and commercial boycott of P&O – “we won’t go with P&O” until the jobs are reinstated. This will cover the entire supply chain, including road haulage, supermarkets and other sectors that currently use P&O Ferries.

New Legislation to ensure this can never happen other UK workers and new laws to protect the long-term future of workers in the UK maritime industry.

Further information on the rolling schedule of protests and demonstrations in Dover, Hull, Cairnryan, Larne and Liverpool will be circulated shortly.

Over 31,500 signatures have been registered on the Unions’ petition in two days and we ask that this is given further promotion across the trade union movement.

I would be grateful if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all members in your Branch and you will be kept updated with further developments.

Yours sincerely

Mick Lynch
General Secretary