P&O breaks CSR commitments as unions issue plan to halt sackings

p&O job losses csr and unions

A decision by P&O to sack 800 of its key workers via a Zoom video call on Thursday has shocked everyone from politicians and business groups, to unions and the media.

Worse for the poor 800 workers who’ve been laid off is the fact that the ferry company plans to replace them with agency staff, which appears counter to everything it promises in its Corporate Social Responsibility guide.

P&O CSR commitments

Mediashotz has scanned the CSR commitment document on the P&O Ferries website and found so much that is wonting, that it shows how this company pays no real head to its CSR commitments.

In a chapter titled ’Investing in our people’, a ‘People, Our Performance & Targets’ section states: “We need the enthusiastic support of our people to drive the commercial success of the business, serve our customers and operate more efficiently.

“We’re investing in our apprentices and cadets and we are training the leaders of the future. 

“We will continue to support our people to become the best that they can be.”

If P&O itself knows that the only way to “drive the commercial success of the business” is by employing “enthusiastic” people, it seems beyond comprehension that it would sack 800 experienced, key workers and replace them with agency staff with no vested interest in the brand. 

The company makes other commitments to its employees around wellbeing, development and training, all of which now seem to ring hollow.

Whilst P&O is a private enterprise, which itself is owned by a company based in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai, the company operates in the UK and unions are working round the clock to try to stop the abhorrent layoffs in their tracks.

RMT action plan

The UK transport union RMT immediately denounced the sackings by P&O and called on the government to intervene.

“We are seeking urgent legal action and are again calling for the Government to take action to stop what is fast turning into one of the most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations”, said RMT general secretary Mick Lynch.

“If this happens at P&O it can happen anywhere and we are calling for mass trade union and wider public mobilisation and protest against the company”, Lynch said.

Today (Friday) the RMT union published a four-point plan to protect those affected by the P&O cull.

The plan calls for:

• The government to demand P&O reverse its decision and hold negotiations with the unions so that jobs and services can be reinstated – If this does not happen the government should use powers to take over the P&O vessels.

*. Remove any government support for P&O owners DP World, including future contracts, including Freeports, and directly support the retention of P&O jobs instead.

• A widespread public and commercial boycott of P&O – “we won’t go with P&O” until the jobs are reinstated.

• New Legislation to ensure this can never happen to other UK workers and new laws to protect the long-term future of workers in the UK maritime industry.