P&O Global Letter of Protest

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, CEO of DP World, Owners of P&O Ferries

On March 17, P&O Ferries in the UK sacked 800 seafarers with 30 minutes notice over a pre-recorded Zoom call.

Aside from being callous and beneath contempt, this behaviour not only lacks any form of basic decency, but appears to be a flagrant violation of UK labour law and international labour standards. Furthermore, the use of non-union replacement workers amounts to a fundamental breach of freedom of association and an attack on workers’ dignity.

We can’t and won’t let this go unchallenged.

On March 29, ITF General Secretary, Stephen Cotton is meeting with DP World, the owners of P&O in Dubai.

At that meeting Stephen will deliver this Global Protest Letter addressed to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, CEO of DP World, backed by hundreds of unions and thousands of workers.

Add your support now!

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To: Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, CEO of DP World, Owners of P&O Ferries
From: [Your Name]

RE: P&O Ferries mass termination of British seafarers

As you are aware, on March 17, P&O Ferries announced via Zoom that it was terminating the contracts of all its 800 seafarers with immediate effect, and that they would be replaced by non-union, agency workers.

The manner in which this has been done appears to be in clear violation of UK labour legislation and international labour standards, a fundamental breach of collective bargaining and an attack on workers’ rights.

We are aware that P&O Ferries is a subsidiary of DP World and that this is part of DP World’s wider plan for P&O Ferries.

Around the world transport workers and our allies in civil society expect and demand better. Multinational corporations like yours can and should treat workers with dignity and respect their rights under the law.

DP World claims it values “relationships built on a foundation of mutual trust and enduring partnership” and wants to be a world-leader on ESG. You signed up to the UN Global Compact committing to respect workers’ fundamental rights. Yet DP World’s much vaunted sustainability statements are meaningless if you allow your subsidiary company to act illegally and directly undermine those very rights in the UK.

P&O firing of all staff with immediate effect is unacceptable.

We call on you to:
- Urgently convene a meeting with the two unions, Nautilus International and the RMT, together with the UK Government, to rectify the current situation.

- Guarantee that this will not happen in any other DP World wholly owned subsidiary and that you will uphold your ESG commitment to the principles of the UN Global Compact and behave equitably and show respect to all workers in your supply chain.

- Commit to social dialogue, respectful industrial relations and to develop a closer relationship with the ITF and our affiliates across all DP World owned subsidiaries that ensures that no worker has to ever endure being sacked via Zoom again.