Both of us were union members and on the whole were very happy.
The shocking news of the sacking by Zoom of staff of P&O Ferries was quite frightening. The huge extravagant 4-storey ships built by DP World, controlled by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al- Maktoum in Dubai wanted the British P&O crew out to bring cheaper labour in. DP World, owner of P&O fired 800 workers to be replaced by workers across the globe who will earn £2 per hour.
We were walking along the Port of Liverpool on Thursday morning and watching the ferry in port to Dublin, unaware of what was happening. We got news via our phones of what was going on, especially in Hull where the Dutch Captain Eugene Favier sealed himself and his 141 crew inside the ship.
Security were apparently ready to march staff off the ships. On top of the sackings the deficit in P&O pension fund is £146 million.
P&O’s ships are registered outside the UK, meaning they probably do not have to follow the U.K. employment laws.
Officials could not justify the P&O sacking. The Department for Transport made no attempt to challenge that appalling decision to throw out the crew. Whether there has been a breech of employment law remains unclear, with the PM appearing to cite out of date laws when in fact the government amended legislation in 2018.
Transport Minister Robert Courts MP (Witney) warned of disruptions to travel and food supplies in the i on March 18, as P&O had advised the government services would be suspended for a few days.
There were demonstrations in several ports in favour of the workers, while Labour leader Keit Starmer condemned the sackings.
I grew up on Merseyside and saw the massive ships crossing the Atlantic. By the time I was at Liverpool University most of the docks were unused except for the northern edge of the line. My father in law was an electrician working in the shipyards during WW2 and decades later, who stood on the soap box with Jack Jones to support workers rights. Today not much chance!