Transport workers offer support to sacked ferry workers in UK

People are being urged to sign a letter of petition on the matter

Transport workers offer support to sacked ferry workers in UK

Transport workers in New Zealand expressed their support to the terminated workers of P&O Ferries, who made the headlines last week after 800 of them were sacked and replaced by agency and non-union employees.

The support came from the New Zealand-based affiliates of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), which include the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, the Maritime Union of New Zealand, E Tū, FIRST Union, the Merchant Service Guild, and the Aviation and Marine Engineers' Association.

Paul Tolich, coordinator of the ITF affiliates in New Zealand, said the unions offered their "full support to the affected crew members," who are part of the United Kingdom's Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' Union and Nautilus International.

Tolich stressed in a statement the emerging concerns that it could happen to anyone if it could happen overseas.

"If it could happen to them there, it could happen to workers here. We have to stand up against multinational companies whenever they think they can get away with this," he said.

The coordinator then urged New Zealand citizens to sign up and share the global protest petition organised by unions directed to a major shareholder of P&O, global ports conglomerate DP World.

According to a media release, ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton will deliver the petition to DP World chief executive officer Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem on March 29 in person.

Read more: How to legally terminate redundant employees

P&O Ferries dispute

The news about the 800 ferry workers who were made redundant erupted last week, putting the P&O Ferries in hot water and drawing extreme backlash from the public.

Ship officers' union Nautilus International, in a letter sent to Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, called the move as "deplorable and a betrayal of British workers."

In the letter, it called on the government to "pursue any legal option available, including criminal proceedings, for P&O's failure to follow their statutory obligation to inform the Secretary of State in advance of making mass redundancies."

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