Ferry routes are a vital public utility

The Workers Party has described the actions of P&O Ferries as “ contemptible, arrogant and dangerous” as they sacked 800 employees  replacing them with lower paid agency staff.

To treat staff in this manner is completely unacceptable. To sack the very staff who provided P&O services throughout the pandemic is disgraceful and the manner in which this was conducted demonstrates the company’s contempt for workers.

The Larne to Cairnryan route carries over half the freight coming into Northern Ireland. There will inevitably be knock on effects and further risks for workers throughout the supply chain.

This is the inevitable outworking of a system which serves the interests of capital and demands the subordination of working people’s interests and workers’ rights to the overriding priority of “competitiveness”.

This, and other ferry routes, should be classed as public utilities providing vital connectivity between these islands. They should never have been left to the devices of the private profit making sector.

Now we have seen the consequences that has

The Westminster government must now intervene directly and bring this route into public ownership, re-instating the links with Scotland and the jobs of all those working the route.

We offer our support and solidarity to the staff and their unions in the struggle to re-secure and copper fasten the service and their jobs.