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P&O Ferries plans to make 36 more redundancies at Dover after making 1,100 redundant in summer

P&O Ferries plans to slash around 36 more jobs onboard its ships in Dover .

The redundancies, if they go ahead, come after the firm cut 1,100 jobs in the summer - 620 of those roles were from Dover.

P&O ferries at Dover Eastern Docks
P&O ferries at Dover Eastern Docks

The company, which says it is not commenting on existing consultation disussions, has slimmed down its Dover to Calais operation from a six to four ferry model.

It has this week been liaising with negotiators from ferries union the RMT who told members they were”disappointed” to find themselves back in this position after the months of negotiations held earlier this year.

And on Tuesday the union demanded the ferry industry secure jobs for British seafarers after the Department for Transport announced it is funding contracts worth £77.6m to ferry operators to provide additional maritime freight capacity once the Brexit process is completed on December 31.

The operators mentioned by the DfT include P&O Ferries, Stena Line and DFDS.

RMT union General Secretary Mick Cash said: “It is not enough that these companies actually own ships, these contracts must guarantee British seafarer employment.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the maritime union RMT
Mick Cash, general secretary of the maritime union RMT

“We will not stand for taxpayers’ money being used to subsidise ferry companies that recruit crew from outside the UK so they can pay them less, including rates below the National Minimum Wage.”

“These international routes are critical to our economic future, yet P&O Ferries are walking away from Hull-Zeebrugge and over 1,200 UK seafarers have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic.

“Support to ferry operators to cover for the Government’s bungled Brexit must be on the condition that seafarer jobs in our coastal communities are protected.

“RMT call on the Government to ensure that these basic protections for British seafarers’ jobs are in place on these contracts and on any future contracts signed under the Freight Capacity Framework Agreement.”

During the last round of redundancies P&O maintained that the company “continues to be committed to the employment of UK seafarers on the Dover/Calais route.”

P&O Ferries' headquarters Channel House. Picture Steve R Salter
P&O Ferries' headquarters Channel House. Picture Steve R Salter

But workers on the Hull to Rotterdam route are being replaced by foreign workers on six month contracts.

In a letter to members this week, the union said the negotiations team met with P&OF to discuss the rationale and scope behind the latest potential redundancies in Dover.

It said: “In the first instance your rep made it clear that we were disapointed to be back in this position given the months of consultation that have taken place and the impact on our seafarer members.

“Whilst the company have highlighted the potential of the following roles to be made redundant, your negotiating team have challenged the company regarding the full time employee figures.”

The roles to be made redundant include 11 SG1As (deck), two ERPO, two motorman positions, one administration role, one cashier, four head chefs, three second chefs, seven chefs and five core stewards.

P&O Ferries was asked to comment on the RMT’s calls to keep jobs in the wake of the DfT’s announcement.

Later today it revealed 40 shore-side jobs are also at threat and a consultation will begin next week.

The company has commented on this cohort of jobs that will be axed.

A spokesman said: “Due to the extended impact of Covid19 on our passenger and freight businesses, we are today announcing a further round of redundancy consultations with a focus on back-office roles and Dover Port employees in addition to the ongoing individual consultations being carried out by P&O Logistics across Europe.

"This further action reflects the unprecedented economic realities of the pandemic lasting longer and hitting harder than we had hoped, and the need to consider all parts of our business to ensure we are a more agile business that is better able to provide our customers with the solutions and services which they value and demand.”

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