Talks between RMT and P&O over sackings end after 20 minutes

The union is calling for a boycott of P&O services over the sackings.

Talks between RMT and P&O over sackings end after 20 minutes iStock

Talks between union officials and P&O over the sacking of almost 800 seafarers ended after 20 minutes without any agreement.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said the “obnoxiousness and hostility” of the company was on display at the meeting.

General secretary Mick Lynch said: “P&O were not prepared to listen to any scenario or develop any idea that would provide a means to create a solution to the current disastrous situation.

“The meeting broke up inside 20 minutes as P&O were simply unprepared to change their course from the illegal dismissal of 800 seafarers.

“RMT will continue to press the Government for an immediate intervention by whatever means necessary to make P&O perform a U-turn and get our members reinstated.

“We also call on the entire labour movement, the public, the freight and logistics sector and the political community to support an immediate and total boycott of all P&O services.

“The people of the UK need to pull P&O to account and make sure that the law in the workplace is upheld, that British workers can have job security and decent pay and that P&O workers get workplace justice.”

P&O said in a statement: “Today we met with the Nautilus and RMT trade unions to listen to their concerns, which we approached with nothing but professionalism. We conducted the meeting in good faith – to suggest anything else is completely untrue.

“We wholly refute the RMT’s suggestion that our actions were illegal.

“As we have made clear, this was an incredibly tough decision for the business – to make this choice or face taking the company into administration.

“We are sorry to the people affected and their families for the impact it’s had on them.

“They’ve lost their jobs and there is anger and shock, which we completely understand.

“We needed fundamental change to make the business viable.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision that we wrestled with but once we knew it was the only way to save the business, we had to act.

“All other routes led to the loss of 3000 jobs and the closure of P&O Ferries.

“In making this hard choice we have guaranteed the future viability of P&O Ferries and secured Britain’s trading capacity.

“We are committed to ensuring the continued and ongoing support for all those former and current employees affected.”

P&O said 729 of the 786 seafarers affected are in discussions to progress with severance offers.

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