P & O Sackings ‘the Thin End of the Wedge’ says Labour Chair

Irena Hubble ‘yet another loophole for the rich thanks to the Tories’

Labour has supported the Maritime Union RMT which has slammed what it described as a “disgusting statement” from P&O Ferries trying to justify one of the most shameful acts by any employer in recent history. Sacked seafarers have been told that if they don’t sign up to be gagged by a non-disclosure agreement you not only lose your job you lose money as well. This is from an organisation which has received millions from the taxpayer to support furlough payments and whose parent company DP World paid out vast sums in dividends last year. Bridgwater Branch Chair and Labour candidate for Fairfax West, Irena Hubble, said “This is the thin end of the wedge.  The owner of P & O. says he can do what he likes as the ships are not registered in this country. So here is another loophole for the rich friends of Tories. The government knew this was going to happen and did nothing. The only way is to nationalise companies like this one  that seek to rip up hard won workers rights overnight and force more working families and their dependents into even more poverty.”

Labour MP Louise Haigh ‘Tory assault on workers rights’

Labour MP Louise Haigh  says “Labour will fight every step of the way for the jobs and livelihoods of these loyal workers. This scandalous action must be a line in the sand. If P&O Ferries can get away with this, it will give the green light to other exploitative employers. It is the consequence of the Tory assault on workers’ rights. A Labour government will strengthen employee protections and ban fire and rehire to give people the security they deserve for an honest day’s work. Tory MPs must join with Labour and vote to ban cruel fire and rehire for good. They must decide which side they are on – loyal workers in Britain or billionaires riding roughshod over rights.”

 ‘Abandoned any standards of workplace decency’

RMT Leader Mick Lynch ‘This is pure blackmail and threats’

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said; “These are the actions of a bully trying to maximise profits by sacking workers and replacing them with agency staff below the minimum wage. The detail of what the company are imposing is not new. The 2.5 weeks is what we have negotiated in the past with P&O. The pay in lieu of notice is not compensation, it is just a payment staff are contractually entitled to as there was no notice given. The way that the package has been structured is pure blackmail and threats– that if staff do not sign up and give away their jobs and their legal right to take the company to an employment tribunal they will receive a fraction of the amount put to them. The actions of P&O demonstrate the weakness of employment law and protections in the UK. P&O have flagrantly breached the law and abandoned any standards of workplace decency. They have ripped away the jobs, careers and pensions of our members and thrown the on the dole with the threat that if they do not sign up and give away their rights they will lose many thousands of pounds in payments. This is totally unacceptable and RMT will continue to campaign for our members to be reinstated at P&O and for better employment laws to protect all British workers.”

Tory’s don’t actually give a damn

“After Brexit, British workers are easy victims” Cllr Brian Smedley

Bridgwater Labour Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) said “The situation seems to be partly a result of Brexit but its mainly shoddy industrial practice shot through with Tory loopholes. Whilst continental workers are not able to be treated this way the post Brexit market triumphs here in UK means British workers are easier victim to lay offs. Tory crocodile tears in Parliament are laughable. Another case of the Fire and Rehire loophole -which Somerset workers fought against and won at Clarks this year. And another reason that it needs to be banned. Interesting that the Tory that brought in the loophole legislation, Chris Grayling, now works as an advisor for various nautical concerns and rakes in millions. It’s hard to work out what’s going on here…can you work it out boys and girls??”

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Paul Sellers
Paul Sellers
1 year ago

How can it be that companies like P+O can fly the British flag and enjoy an especially low rate of corporation tax (the “tonnage tax”) when thye do not employ no British seafarers? Perhaps the tonnage tax rules should be amended to have the requirement for at least some British crew.
That’s a thought for the next Labour government though – first priority is to support the sacked British seafarers.

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