RMT demands government action over P & O jobs

The RMT has today written to Shipping Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP demanding actions from the government to support the union’s fight to save more than a thousand jobs at P&O Ferries.

More than 730 of these jobs are currently held by UK seafarer Ratings employed on strategically vital ferry routes from Dover and Hull to the continent.

In his letter, RMT general secretary Mick Cash calls on the UK government to take the following steps to save jobs at P&O Ferries and to re-build UK seafarer employment in this country:

•             Issue a public statement opposing compulsory redundancies and implore P&O Ferries to use the extended furlough scheme in the UK to protect employment for key workers, especially seafarers and dockers.

•             Place a condition of long term employment protections for British Ratings and Officers on all state support provided to P&O Ferries and any other operator, including but not limited to Public Service Obligation routes.‎

•             Pursue public ownership and control of P&O Ferries’ operations as a priority.

•             Outlaw nationality based pay discrimination against seafarers on UK registered vessels.

•             Commit to a strategy for returning the UK ferry fleet to the Red Ensign.

•             Amend the Tonnage Tax scheme to include mandatory links to training and employment for UK Ratings and Officers.

•             Reform the UK’s Cabotage laws to apply and enforce UK employment, equality and immigration law in the shipping industry.

Mick Cash said: “These are keyworker jobs that support the local economy, particularly in Dover and Hull. P&O Ferries and their paymasters in Dubai are threatening RMT seafarers’ jobs because they want to replace them with cheaper Ratings from the other side of the world when the recovery in passenger numbers comes.

“We have a healthy dialogue with the Shipping Minister and her officials but we must now see dynamic action from the government in support of British seafarers jobs on vital ferry routes that are being subsidised by the taxpayer.”

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