Our Ref: SH/16/3
29th May 2020

Dear Colleagues


Further to previous correspondence on the above matter, I can confirm that the union’s negotiating team have now had the opportunity to meet with P&O Ferries with regards to the proposed redundancies at Dover and Hull. It was made clear to the company at these meetings that the RMT opposes the proposed redundancies in the strongest possible terms. The RMT has requested the extension of the furlough scheme in order to allow constructive dialogue and protect as many jobs as possible, it is your union’s belief the cuts are based on a pre-coronavirus aspirational model of 20% savings across the company. The company has refused to extend the furlough scheme believing that the cuts are required at this time even though the company is seeing an increase in freight and passenger capacity in both the Short Sea and the North Sea. This is all the more reason to extend the furlough scheme and avoid job losses.

I have requested additional meetings with P&O as I do not believe the time allocated to meetings is adequate nor does it allow for constructive dialogue over so many proposed redundancies. I am also seeking to ensure throughout this process that the RMT receives a commitment from P&O to continue to employ UK seafarers. However, it is clear by their proposed figures in Hull, that it is the company’s aspiration to employ low cost overseas agency labour, a practice your union will continue to oppose during these negotiations and beyond. Additionally, the company are seeking to introduce a GP role in Dover to replace safety critical positions and an urgent meeting has been requested to discuss our concerns over these proposals.

Having recently considered this matter, the union’s National Executive Committee is becoming increasingly concerned at P&O’s general lack of engagement, their failure to facilitate of adequate time for meetings, the continued delays to furnish the RMT with the appropriate documentation and their attempts to avoid meaningful discussion with the union’s negotiating team. I can assure you that this union will continue to take appropriate action to defend our members’ livelihoods during this difficult time and to mitigate job losses.

I trust this keeps you fully advised on the matter and I will, of course, update you meetings taking place next week.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary