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P&O: Protesters rally in Dover on anniversary of sackings

Original source (on modern site) | Article images: [1] [2]

Image source, Charlie Rose/BBC

Image caption,

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT union, addressed the rally in Dover

By Stuart Maisner & Charlie Rose

BBC News

Protesters have gathered in Dover to mark the first anniversary of the sacking of hundreds of P&O Ferries workers.

Nearly 800 people lost their jobs when the firm replaced them with agency staff on less than the minimum wage.

The move prompted widespread protests at the time, and the government faced criticism.

P&O said the "changes" meant it was now serving customers "much better than ever before".

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT union, told the rally it was "obscene" that the company had faced no punishment for the sackings.

The government said it had made substantial progress on seafarer protection.

Image caption,

Lee Davison said his sacking took a toll on his mental health

Lee Davison said his sacking left him out of work for a few months last year.

He said: "I've had to find other work, which is nowhere near the salary I was on.

"It has taken a toll on my mental health and the mental health of a lot of other people that worked there."

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

P&O Ferries staff were sacked with no notice and replaced with foreign agency staff who were paid less

Mr Lynch spoke at the rally after the union staged a demonstration in Westminster to condemn the government response to the sackings in March 2022.

P&O Ferries services were suspended after the mass sackings and several of the company's vessels failed safety inspections before being cleared to resume operating.

In August, the Insolvency Service said P&O would not face criminal proceedings as there was "no realistic prospect of a conviction".

A P&O statement said: "Significant changes in the last year have saved this business, including the 2,200 jobs we secured in coastal communities across the UK.

"As a result, we are now serving the needs of our passenger and freight customers much better than ever before."

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