South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth is urging local people to join a blockade at P&O ferries Cairnryan terminal on Friday (8th April)- and challenged local Tory politicians to join the protest against the ferry firms recent on the spot sacking of dozens of workers at the port.
The local MSP, who is a member of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT) will be taking part in the blockade organised by the RMT at 12 noon- and he has urged Tory MP Alister Jack and other local conservative politicians to join him to explain to workers why they have failed to deliver on a UK Government pledge to get them reinstated.
The Prime Minister had pledged to force the firm to reverse its decision to sack workers including those at Cairnryan. Boris Johnston told the UK Parliament “P&O plainly are not going to get away with it”, but so far workers remain out of a job and have been replaced by agency workers on poorer terms and conditions.
Colin Smyth said, “Despite promises from the Prime Minister, P&O have so far got away with their shameful sacking of local workers. There has been no meaningful action against them from the UK Government, just hot air from Boris Johnston and a Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack who had been posted missing.
“Both the UK and Scottish Governments promised to review the tens of millions of pounds of contracts they have with P&O but again they have failed to do so, and this inaction has meant workers have had no choice but to sign up for their redundancy payments or risk losing them. The UK Government has given P&O ferries over £38m, including over £3.5m for the Cairnryan to Larne service and shamefully they continue to give this firm taxpayers money.
“Even if our Governments have given up the fight, I know workers haven’t and I’d urge the local community to join us at the blockade to highlight their solidarity. I’m also calling on local Tory politicians to come out of hiding and show their support.
“Without stronger action from the UK Government, P&O will be let off the hook. That will be devastating for those loyal workers kicked out of their jobs, bad news for the local economy and would be a green light to bad bosses up and down the country to treat staff like disposable labour. We can’t let that happen.”
“The UK Government has the power to intervene to remove the P&O Chief Executive who clearly broke the law by failing to consult over redundancies and they could get the workers back in post, but they have failed to use those powers and that really is a betrayal of the local community”
UK Government Ministers has passed responsibility to investigate P&O ferries to Government Agency, the Insolvency Service, which deals with redundancies, but it has not even set a timetable for their investigation.