Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1092/30963
From The Socialist newspaper, 24 June 2020
P&O: Defend every job - nationalise the ferries under workers' control and management!
P&O has announced 856 job cuts in ferries, photo by Robert Cutts/CC (Click to enlarge)
Eric Segal, East Kent Socialist Party
On 11 May, P&O Ferries announced plans to cut 734 jobs in Dover and 122 jobs in Hull, after reporting a severe downturn in demand.
The cuts, affecting more than a quarter of the group's workforce, come after the firm's owner, the Dubai-based DP World, had asked for £150 million of government handouts. This was only two months after DP World said it would be paying its investors about £270m in dividends.
The RMT transport and maritime union is determined to fight P&O's threat, and is currently in negotiations to oppose the threatened job losses. But negotiations never run in a straight line.
The response by the union to a breakdown in negotiations was to call simultaneous demonstrations at the Dover and Hull ports. But at the eleventh hour the demonstrations, backed by both South East Kent and Hull trade union councils, were called off due to some progress in the redundancy consultation which ends on 24 June.
Faced with 1,000 job losses, the question in the minds of P&O workers in Dover and Hull is how to defend jobs, pay and conditions.
The threat of compulsory redundancy, together with enhanced redundancy pay of two-and-a-half weeks per year of service, and the waiving of the restriction of one years post-termination date, may tempt some workers, but the likelihood of finding further employment in South East Kent is unlikely given the Covid-19 pandemic.
P&O should step back from its plans to sack workers and remember that seafarers have a proud tradition in defending jobs and conditions.
P&O workers need to draw on the valuable lessons of the bitter year-long strike in 1988, which linked seafarers internationally against the attacks on job losses, and recall the words of Bob Crow, the late general secretary of the RMT: "If you don't fight you will lose but if you fight you may win".
Donate to the Socialist Party
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.
In The Socialist 24 June 2020:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Lifting the lockdown: workers must not pay the price
Victory for Royal Glamorgan A&E!
Housing: act now to cancel Covid crisis rents and debt
Over 30% of children living in poverty
Fight back to stop Tories scrapping protections for children in care
International aid: Johnson's pie in the sky
Reading workers' movement responds to knife attack
News in brief
Them & us
Black Lives Matter
Young people fighting back: Jobs and homes, not racism
Lessons from the Black Panthers: "We're not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism - we're going to fight capitalism with socialism"
Towards an anti-racist school curriculum
Black Lives Matter protests: week three
International socialist news and analysis
South Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign
Tories sinking in Wales but no enthusiasm for Welsh Labour
Workplace news and analysis
Why you should come to NSSN conference
Fully fund schools - stand firm on safety
P&O: defend every job - nationalise the ferries
Workers need a 'new deal' - at least £12 an hour now!
Renationalisation of the probation service
It's time to join the Socialist Party
Selling the Socialist: we're back!
Fighting fund: help us smash our target!
Call for an increase in PIP due to Covid-19
A timely read about a pandemic that overwhelms society
The Socialist inbox
The Socialist 24 June 2020 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook