8 October 2020
RMT Press Office:
FERRIES’ UNION RMT today called on the Government to take immediate action to preserve UK seafarer jobs and freight services on the Hull-Zeebrugge route, which the sole operator P&O Ferries is threatening to close.
Following a meeting in the Port of Hull with Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, Jim McMahon MP and Shadow Shipping Minster, Mike Kane MP, there was condemnation of P&O Ferries’ decision to close the Hull-Zeebrugge route which would heap more misery on seafarers, hauliers and the local economy and demands that the Government works with trade unions, port owner ABP and operators to restore freight services and maritime jobs on this critically important route.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“P&O’s owners in Dubai might have thrown the towel in but RMT is not giving up on UK seafarers or the future of critical freight and passenger ferries from Hull to the Continent.
“P&O were paid £1.2m from the Government’s Critical Freight Grant to maintain the supply chain during the height of lockdown. If the Government is serious about maritime recovery and decarbonisation, they need to take a leaf out of Labour’s book and work with the trade unions to attract a new operator on this vital route to support key seafarer jobs and critical ferry services in Hull and the UK.”
Mike Kane MP, Shadow Maritime & Aviation Minister said:
“The Government’s maritime policy is dangerously adrift if they let P&O ferries walk away from this route with no effort to secure another operator. The supply of food, medical supplies and goods between the continent, the north of England and Scotland will be slowed and damaged if we lose this capacity.
“Seafarers, dockers and haulage businesses in proud maritime cities like Hull deserve better. Labour are committed to re-building our maritime economy. This means more jobs and training for UK seafarers on international shipping routes, not abandoning key workers and freight capacity at this critical time for our country.”