War declared against the working class as 800 P&O seafarers are sacked and replaced by cheap labour!

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POWERFUL protests erupted in Liverpool, Hull and Dover yesterday after 800 P&O Ferries’ seafarers were sacked by decree and replaced by cheap labour.

The RMT union and Nautilus International union instructed their members to refuse to leave the ships, and now the whole trade union movement must take a stand with them!

In a vicious war against the workforce, the company, whose owners DP World are based in Dubai, recruited an army of non-unionised agency workers from overseas. In this very real declaration of war on the working class the company actually had the replacement cheap labourers standing by on the dock.

The company hired private security forces, armed with handcuffs, some of them in balaclavas, and in an act of piracy they stormed the ships.

Captain Eugene Favier in Hull drew up the gangplanks and sealed his crew inside the Pride of Hull after P&O announced the mass redundancies.

Other seafarers in Liverpool and Dover held out on their ships. The RMT union said it was one of the ‘most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations’. The union said that the 800-strong workforce were told they no longer had a job via a pre-recorded zoom message. However, this is business as usual as far as the Dubai capitalist class are concerned and their British ruling class imitators who are now adopting the same methods.

Louise Haigh, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport said: ‘The action taken by P&O Ferries today is a national scandal. Given that neither the workers or their unions received notification of this action,’ she alleged, ‘is clearly illegal’.

Even the Tory Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport was forced to condemn the move telling Parliament: ‘As I told the management and I am extremely concerned, and in fact, frankly angry by the way that workers have been treated today.’

What has really angered the Tory Party is that the cat has now well and truly been let out of the bag. This civil war approach to industrial relations is being adopted by British capitalists as the only way forward to save their collapsing capitalist system and drive up its rate of profit.

The UK working class has now been given a demonstration of the methods that the UK bosses intend to use against them. They want a nation of fire and rehire, using agency workers. They don’t want unionised labour demanding basic rights like pensions, sick pay and job security.

What the Tories are angry about is that their thinnest of facades, their pretence of ‘helping the workers’ during the pandemic, and of ‘levelling up’ has been unceremoniously blown asunder exposing the naked class struggle that is rapidly developing.

They want the working class to pay for this economic crisis with their jobs, their livelihoods and in the final analysis, their lives. Inflation has been let rip, interests rates have been raised for the third time by the Bank of England and there are more rate rises to come.

Jobs are being cut by the hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands. Energy bills have gone through the roof, and with sanctions on Russian oil and gas, the hikes have only just begun.

In other words the scene has been set for an all out showdown between the rulers of this country and the millions of workers and their families who will refuse point blank to be thrown to the wolves.

The 800 P&O sackings is a declaration of war against the working class. The only form of defence is attack. The entire trade union movement must come out over this, or they will be next!

These seafarers were treated like criminals, threatened with arrest if they did not give up their jobs and leave their ships. The criminals are the international capitalists exploiting their workforce to extract as much profit as they possibly can.

This is now the time to act decisively. It means that workers must force the TUC to call a general strike to bring this country to a grinding halt, and to return all 800 workers to their jobs.

The TUC must be made to tell the government that it will call a general strike unless all 800 are restored to their jobs with the same wages and conditions, or else the TUC will call a general strike to bring the government down to go forward to a workers government.

Forward with the British Socialist Revolution!