RMT workers to block Cairnryan port in protest against P&O Ferries

The union said they can not let the sacking of nearly 800 employees go 'unchallenged'.

RMT workers to block Cairnryan port in protest against P&O Ferries on Friday, April 29 STV News

Protesters are set to blockade a port in Dumfries and Galloway in a demonstration against P&O Ferries, who sacked nearly 800 employees in March.

The firm announced widespread redundancies on March 17 and replaced crews with cheaper agency workers without notice, with many employees notified via video call.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) are set to block off Cairnryan Port on Friday, April 29, in a protest against the decision to sack hundreds of workers. 

RMT Regional Officer Gordon Martin said the union “cannot allow the sackings to go unchallenged”.

He said: “We’re running buses from Glasgow on Friday, April 29, from 2pm onwards and will be asking people not to use the ferry on that day. 

“This is due to an unprovoked attack from the bandit capitalists at P&O Ferries on RMT and trade union members when they unceremoniously sacked 800 workers.

“We cannot allow that to go unchallenged, as who will be next.

“We will be blockading the port on Friday in the hope that they receive this message.”

RMT previously protested at the port on Friday, April 8.

The latest demo comes as the ferry operator continues to be under criminal investigation over the sacking of nearly 786 seafarers.

A spokesperson for P&O Ferries said: “We’re pleased to have welcomed tourist passengers and freight customers back on board some of our ships and we’re looking forward to having all of our services running again as soon as mandatory safety tests have been passed.  

“P&O Ferries is now a modern, dynamic, competitive and viable business which can meet customer needs flexibly in a way that has not been possible in the past. 

“As part of our long term commitment to the business, we are investing in a new generation of fully efficient, low impact ships on Dover-Calais.

“In addition, a new class of ship – due to enter service in 2023 – will reduce turnaround time in the ports, reducing operating costs and emissions.

“Our newly formed and forward looking operational relationship with DFDS is also focused on customer service through delivering greater flexibility, more frequency and easier travel.”

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