‘THERE must be national strike action by the whole RMT to win our P&O members their jobs back,’ leading RMT rep Darren Lalli said on Saturday night ahead of today’s mass demonstration outside Parliament.
The RMT has called the demonstration outside Parliament at 2.30pm today following last Thursday’s mass sacking of 800 P&O Ferries workers.
The 800 RMT members were sacked in a pre-recorded message broadcast to them simultaneously over Zoom on Thursday afternoon.
Over the weekend, P&O refused to guarantee that its remaining 2,200 UK-based employees would not get the same treatment.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said on Sunday: ‘The UK has seen one of the most shameful episodes in its recent industrial history.
‘800 workers were sacked immediately, with no notice so they can be replaced by cheaper labour.
‘Security guards boarded ships with handcuffs to remove crew.
‘If this can happen at P&O it can happen anywhere.
‘On Monday 21st March, Labour has secured a special debate in Parliament to highlight this scandal and demand action.
‘We are calling for mass trade union and wider public mobilisation in support of the protest at parliament on Monday.’
Speaking on the Night Tube picket line at West Ruislip Station late on Saturday night, Darren Lalli commented: ‘What has happened to P&O staff is completely unacceptable, not just to the RMT, but to the TUC as a whole.
‘It’s a wake-up call to all workers that it can happen to them.
‘It’s an eye-opener to all workers in the UK to unite and fight.
‘The RMT should ballot all members for strike action to protect our brothers and sisters at P&O.
‘I was shocked on Thursday when this happened. There must be a full national call. The RMT cannot tolerate it and neither can the TUC. The cat is out of the bag. What they have done at P&O is what they want to do with the whole working class.
‘We have to ballot all members in the RMT and all unions. The way they did it over video-call shows just what they are like. They must not prevail.’
Speaking about the Night Tube strike, which has continued each Friday and Saturday night since November against London Underground’s attempt to force all train operators onto ‘mixed shifts’, undermining safety and destroying work-life balance, Lalli continued: ‘No-one crossed the picket line last night or tonight.
‘We had a mass meeting on Friday where we discussed the successful London-wide Tube strike on 1st and 3rd March and it was decided that the union will strike again next month.
‘The pension review will be published on 31st March, which we expect to come out with a terrible attack on all of our pensions and the other LU unions must come out on strike with us.’