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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Seafarers demand justice

by New Worker correspondent

THE BATTLE to secure justice for the 800 workers sacked by P&O Ferries continues.

Another two demonstrations have just been announced for next week.

The first is organised by the RMT transport union and takes place outside their offices at Maritime House in Snargate Street, Dover CT17 9BZ at 2pm. On Thursday the International Transport Federation is holding a protest outside the offices of P&O’s owner DP World at 16 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JQ, but at the time of writing the precise time was yet to be announced.

Mick Lynch, General Secretary of RMT, the main union involved, said: “The protests this month in Dover and London are part of the campaign that is being built to fight back against the shocking assault on UK seafarer jobs and employment rights that the recent P&O sackings represent. The contempt that the company have for both staff and passengers alike is underlined by the Easter travel chaos at UK ports that their illegal actions have unleashed.”

Ferry services remain disrupted as the new crews are not yet ready to take to sea and other ferry services on the Dover–Calais route have not accepted P&O bookings, as is customary when services are disrupted or very busy.

Rumours from RMT sources have reached this correspondent, however, that as many as 300 of those sacked have accepted enhanced redundancy packages and that many others are also in discussions to secure a better deal.

Nautilus International, the union for officers and ratings, has demanded that the Government turn their rhetori into action. Their National Organiser said at a Liverpool rally that an additional 40 cadets were also told to leave their ships. To add insult to injury, the belongings of dismissed seamen have been dumped and P&O does not reply to calls from dismissed seaman about their property still on board ship.

“We are an island nation, and we need to attract youngsters into industry, and how do we do that if it’s a rubbish job and the best you can expect is the national minimum wage?” he concluded.