RMT responds to Government’s increase in taxpayer support to P&O

RMT responds to Government’s increase in taxpayer support to P&O

12 June 2020

RMT Press Office:

RMT responds to Government’s increase in taxpayer support to P&O Ferries by demanding withdrawal of redundancy plans

SEAFARER Union RMT has responded to the Government’s increase in taxpayer support to P&O Ferries by demanding that P&O Ferries withdraw plans for 1,100 redundancies mainly amongst directly employed UK seafarers in Dover and Hull.

A Written Answer to Hull East MP Karl Turner revealed that P&O Ferries’ payment through the taxpayer funded Critical Freight Grant had increased 36% (£1.25m) on the Hull-Rotterdam route. P&O is seeking to make redundancies amongst UK Ratings on this route whilst retaining foreign agency crew on £4.50 per hour and six month contracts.

In recent correspondence with RMT on this matter, Shipping Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP advised that "They [P&O] have confirmed they remain committed to a locally sourced workforce and when their market returns P&O will again look to their local labour markets to fill new roles."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said;

“P&O Ferries want to slash 1,100 jobs, mainly in Hull and Dover by the end of June so they can permanently replace local seafarers with exploited foreign crews when passenger traffic picks up. That much is clear from P&O’s plans for the Pride of Hull, which are an insult to the people of Hull.

“Taxpayer support through the Critical Freight Grant has been bumped up to £14.8m and we have shown in talks with P&O that 20% savings can be made without destroying seafarer jobs in Hull or Dover.

“The Government and the Transport Select Committee need to call P&O Ferries in and get these dangerous redundancy proposals taken off the table, as a matter of urgency.”


Notes to Editors
1.       Shipping Minister Kelly Tolhurst’s Written Answer (51906) to Karl Turner on 9 June states that: Two Public Service Obligation (PSO) Agreements were awarded to P&O Ferries on routes from the Port of Hull. The value of the awards will depend on actual revenues and service level requirements during operation. The estimated value of these PSO Agreements at the point of contract award have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union and are as follows:
·        PSO Agreement between Hull and Europoort Rotterdam: £3,504,249, – this has since been revised to £4,779,369.
·        PSO Agreement between Hull and Zeebrugge: £1,842,210.”
2.       Critical Freight Grant (CFG) funding to each operator on each route is in the table below. Total CFG to P&O Ferries is currently £14.825m, 41% of the total pot to date.
Route, Operator, Grant
Portsmouth-Santander, Brittany Ferries - £1,508,265
Portsmouth-Cherbourg, Brittany Ferries - £1,042,551
Poole-Bilbao Brittany Ferries - £370,395
Dover-Dunkerque DFDS - £3,068,766
Dover-Calais P&O - £1,173,915 DFDS - £3,770,838
Folkestone-Coquelles (Channel Tunnel) £3,431,863
Cairnryan-Larne P&O - £3,581,685
Tilbury-Zeebrugge P&O - £2,053,206
Teesport-Europoort P&O - £1,098,369
Hull-Europoort P&O - £4,779,369[1]
Hull-Zeebrugge P&O - £1,842,210
Heysham-Warrenpoint Seatruck - £849,159
Rotterdam-Killingholme Stena Line - £2,018,547
Cairnryan-Belfast Stena Line - £1,077,597
Harwich-Rotterdam Stena Line - £1,822,365
Harwich-Hoek van Holland Stena Line - £1,608,003
TOTAL: £35,097,103
3.       P&O Ferries redundancy plans submitted to RMT on 11 May include 60 directly employed UK Ratings mainly in On-Board Service roles on the Bahamas registered Pride of Hull, operating on the Hull-Rotterdam route.  Nearly 60 agency crew from the Philippines on £4.50 per hour and 6 month contracts would be retained om the Pride of Hull.

[1] 36% increase on original contracted grant figure of £3,504,249

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