9 January 2024
RMT Press Office:
Seafarer Union RMT today responded to disgraced P&O Ferries CEO Peter Hebblethwaite’s announcement of a new freight route between the Thames Freeport and Europoort in Rotterdam.
- P&O Ferries announced earlier today that they will be opening a new freight route in March between Tilbury 2 and Europoort in Rotterdam.
- On 17 March 2022, P&O Ferries dismissed 786 directly employed UK seafarers with immediate effect, marching them off the ship and replacing them that day with agency crew recruited on the international labour market for rates of pay well below the UK National Minimum Wage and for longer voyage only contracts.
- The Government introduced the Seafarers Wages Act which is not fully in force but will only require payment of an equivalent to the NMW for work done in UK territorial waters if the ship calls at a UK port 120 times per year. A voluntary Seafarers Charter was introduced in July which P&O Ferries, Irish Ferries and other exploitative operators have ignored.
- The Dutch flagged Norbay vessel will be used on the new route, having been transferred from the Liverpool-Dublin route that P&O Ferries scrapped last December.
- Tilbury 2 is owned by Forth Ports and is within the Thames Freeport https://www.forthports.co.uk/freeports/ DP World owned London Gateway is also in the Thames Freeport.
- Tilbury contains child poverty rates of 56.4% https://www.thurrock.gov.uk/thurrock-facts-and-statistics/children-and-young-people