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Widespread protests against P&O over sackings

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Shreya has been with londonbusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider londonbusinessblog.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.
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rotests have been held across the country against P&O Ferries after its “appalling” decision to sack 800 seafarers as the company issued a fresh defence of its decision.

Demonstrations were held at ports in Dover, Liverpool, Hull and Larne in Northern Ireland and outside the London head office of owners DP World amid growing anger at the sudden sacking of staff with no notice.

Attempts are being made to replace them with cheaper agency workers, but the company is facing a backlash, including calls for a boycott of its services.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh, who joined the rally in Dover, described P&O’s actions as “nothing short of a national scandal”.

“This is a disgraceful way for a Dubai-based conglomerate to treat British workers in this country,” she told the PA news agency.

She added: “I will be taking action in Parliament next week to push the Government to take sanctions against P&O now, to push leverage on them, to force them to change course and if it’s not illegal… then we need to make sure it is immediately made so.”

In a new statement on Friday, P&O said: “We took this difficult decision as a last resort and only after full consideration of all other options but, ultimately, we concluded that the business wouldn’t survive without fundamentally changed crewing arrangements, which in turn would inevitably result in redundancies.

“We also took the view, in good faith, that reaching agreement on the way forward would be impossible and against this background, that the process itself would be highly disruptive, not just for the business but for UK trade and tourism.”

Protesters at the Port of Hull, East Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA) / PA Wire

The company acknowledged that the sackings “came without warning or prior consultation, and we fully understand that this has caused distress for them and their families”.

The statement added: “The changes we’ve made bring us into line with londonbusinessblog industry practice.

“Our aim is to have the first of our services running again in the next day or two as we lose £1m a day for each day they are not moving.

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