Freight News, Sea

Workers protest to DP World over P&O Ferries sackings

[ March 30, 2022   //   ]

International Transport Workers’ Federation general secretary Stephen Cotton has handed a ‘Global Letter of Protest’ to the leadership of DP World, owners of P&O Ferries, over the sacking of 800 UK seafarers.

The letter, delivered to DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, called for the reinstatement of the sacked seafarers and a commitment to respect workers’ rights and engage with unions across the company’s global operations.

“Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen protests at P&O ports from Dover to Hull, and across Europe from Dublin to Rotterdam in solidarity with these workers,” said Cotton. “Today we took the shock and condemnation of the world’s transport workers and their supporters directly to the global headquarters of DP World.”

He added that, “in the face of brutal corporate decision making”, transport workers and their unions are uniting to fight back for justice and respect for the critical role they play in global supply chains.

“Transport employers across the world should watch this dispute carefully,” said Cotton. “This fight that is playing out across the ports of the UK, is not just about the illegal firing of 800 seafarers, but a fight about respect and the future of the rights of seafarers globally.”

Cotton said that the admission by P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite that the company acted illegally when firing the workers, should be cause for their immediate reinstatement.

“The fact that despite admitting to their illegality, P&O and its owner DP World, can continue to refuse to reinstate these workers, and even say they’d do it again, should send alarm bells ringing for governments across Europe, but also everywhere DP World operates,” added ETF general secretary Livia Spera.

“If governments cannot protect their people and hold corporations accountable, it raises serious questions about who is in charge,” she added.

The letter also called for a meeting with the two UK unions, Nautilus International and the RMT, together with the UK Government, a guarantee that similar events would not happen in any other DP World wholly owned subsidiary and that the company upheld its commitment to the UN Global Compact and show respect to all workers.

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