P&O’s actions were unacceptable, and it is absolutely necessary that no company is ever able to repeat them.
The SNP is clear that it rejects any attack on worker’s protections and workers and stands fully behind the P&O staff in their fight for justice and dignity in work. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, fairness and respect in the workplace.
The First Minister spoke directly to the boss of P&O Ferries and made clear her “utter disgust” with the company’s actions.
SNP Transport Spokesperson Gavin Newlands spoke in the commons on the day of the sackings to call for the UK Government to support workers who had been fired, including those who refused to leave their vessels.
The government’s plans to force ferry operators to pay minimum wage do not go far enough, they must force the rehiring of P&O staff with the same conditions as before.
The SNP took part in the debate on the Seafarers Wages Bill on the 19th of December to highlight the failings of the bill, the fact that the bill will not prevent companies repeating the actions of P&O, and the numerous loopholes companies may exploit in the act.
The reason for the failings in the bill, and the UK Government’s continuous refusal to address them, is that the Tories only care about looking like they are on the side of workers, not about changing things to improve the lives of workers.
This is evidenced by the fact that with one act the Tories claim to be supporting workers, while they plan others that will roll back workers’ rights and attack the right to collective bargaining.
Upcoming Tory legislation is set to slash workers’ rights retained from the EU, and attack the right to strike and arrange with other workers.
The SNP Scottish Government is acting where it can to fill the gap in action on workers’ rights left by the UK Government, but as employment law is reserved there is only so much that the Scottish Government is able to do.
The SNP in Westminster will fight against Tory attacks on workers’ rights, and strive to improve bills such as the Seafarers Wages Bill, but the only way to protect and enshrine the rights of workers long term in Scotland is to secure independence.