South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has expressed his solidarity with trade unions fighting to save ferry jobs and accused P&O Ferries of an “utter betrayal” after the firm announced the loss of hundreds of seafaring staff jobs including on their Cairnryan to Larne crossing.
Colin Smyth said, “This is devastating news for any workers affected and their families and an utter betrayal of the Wigtownshire community by P&O Ferries. Workers stood by the firm during the pandemic keeping sailings going yet now P&O are walking away from them. The underhand way the company have made the announcement via zoom and by sending in private security to haul workers off ferries in some ports if need be and prevent staff going to work, is simply beyond contempt”.
“The Trade Unions have my solidarity in fighting these job losses but we know that as a company P&O clearly have little interest in the welfare of their workforce and have been planning this move for some time, with reports they employed private security firms weeks ago to prepare for this announcement.”
“It is vital that the Scottish Government provide whatever support they can to assist any worker that finds themselves out of a job due to this announcement. These are jobs that the Wigtownshire economy simply cannot afford to lose. ”
“The move also highlights how weak our employment protection laws are. For some time Labour have been pressing the UK Government to outlaw the practise of fire and rehire, but they have failed to do even although there is growing evidence more and more companies are using this practise in response to the pandemic. The actions of P&O are like something from Victorian times but sadly are entirely legal in the UK and that simply can’t be right.”