DEAR EDITOR

Letter to the Editor – P&O Sackings

Protestors in Dover: photo by Sarah Gleave

Dear Editor

Re: P&O Ferries firing of 800 staff

Dover & Deal Liberal Democrats are extremely concerned about P&O Ferries’ callous firing of 800 staff (c.500 in Dover) last Thursday March 17, 2022.

Specifically, we are questioning our local Dover MP, Natalie Elphicke (who, it is alleged, knew about P&O Ferries’ plan 6 days beforehand), and Dover District Council as to how they propose to proceed going forwards regarding the following:

  • The legality of the firing in terms of workers’ rights
  • The level of Health & Safety provisions and training for the new employees? The bitter memories of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster (1987) are still vivid in many people’s minds.
  • The low hourly rate the new employees are reportedly being paid – c. £1.80 per hour.  Is this acceptable on any level?
  • The impact on the local Dover community, not simply on those P&O employees who have lost their jobs, but also the local services and businesses which will be affected through loss of earnings.  How does our MP and Dover District Council (DDC)  propose to increase employment opportunities in the area?
  • How does the Government and DDC propose to protect Dover’s important maritime history going forwards, if it is as easy as it seems to sack local workers without any comeback?
  • Will P&O Ferries be required to pay back any of the £10 million furlough funds it was granted by the Government while paying its shareholders dividends of £270 million in the same year?

We need urgent answers to these questions and innovative plans going forwards so that Dover, its residents and businesses are protected in the future.

Yours faithfully

Penelope James

Chair

Dover & Deal Liberal Democrats