Sacked Seafarers Stage Protests

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P&O Ferries staff are staging protests after the firm sacked 800 employees without giving them any notice, reports BBC.

The firm, which transports passengers and freight, sails major routes including between Ireland and Britain and Britain and France.

P&O Ferries staff stage protests

P&O currently operates two Irish routes – Dublin to Liverpool and Larne, Co Antrim to Cairnryan, Scotland. Its boats also run from Dover, England, to Calais, France, and Hull, England, to Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

But services were suspended and a series of demonstrations were held today after P&O bosses callously axed 800 crew members over Zoom.

Among the demos today was a protest organised by unions in Larne. Dismissed staff, some with decades of experience working for P&O, revealed how they were escorted to their cabins by private security guards before being led off the vessel on Thursday.

Shocking and saddening

Danny McQuaid, who lost his job with P&O, told how he was “shocked and saddened” as the company wielded the axe. He said: “I have been here about eight years, but there are some of the guys who have been here 30, 35 years. They have given their lives to this company and have been part of the reason they have been such a success.”

Politicians from the DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP and People Before Profit were among those in attendance at the protest. Outraged members of the public and seafarers from rival operator Stena Line, which sails out of Belfast Port, joined the sacked P&O workers in Larne to show solidarity with them.

Speaking at Larne harbour, Mr McQuaid branded the way staff had been treated as “absolutely brutal”.

He declared: “There’s no good time to lose your job, but certainly this is particularly painful, not just for me, but a lot of the guys – there are some young guys with families and mortgages to pay.”

Disgraceful and callous

Another protestor, Daniel McDonald said: “I think you wouldn’t even treat animals like this. It’s like a bad dream.”

The Irish Government has contacted P&O Ferries seeking details of the impact on its Irish operations of the decision to suddenly suspend all services and sack 800 seafaring crew.

Labour employment spokesperson Marie Sherlock last night described the behaviour of the management at P&O Ferries as “disgraceful and callous”.

Senator Sherlock said: “We stand in solidarity with all the workers involved and their unions.”

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Source: BBC

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