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P&O workers block road to Port of Dover in jobs protest

Police intervened after dozens of employees stood on the road holding banners and flags.

17 March 2022

Police have intervened after P&O workers blocked a road leading to the Port of Dover.

Dozens of employees who lost their jobs on Thursday stood on the road holding banners and flags saying “Stop the P&O jobs carve up”.

It came after buses carrying agency workers hired to replace them appeared to arrive at the Kent port.

P&O Ferries announcement
Former P&O staff and RMT union members block the road leading to the Port of Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A lorry driver trying to enter the port began shouting and beeping at those in the road, before being told “We’re not moving”.

Another driver, Richard Gamby, said: “I understand what they’re doing but I want to get home – I’ve been up since four.”

Police officers then attended the scene close to the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union office in Dover.

P&O Ferries announcement
Former P&O staff and RMT members said coachloads of agency workers were waiting to go down to Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA)

One of the protesters, who had worked for the company for decades, told the PA news agency: “I refuse to move from this road. All this service for nothing.

“The police will have to take me away.”

Demonstrators then began chanting “Support local jobs” before moving to another road.

A 54-year-old man, who has worked in ferry engine rooms since the 1980s, said: “I’m fuming, to be honest with you. I’ve known people who’ve been with the firm for years – this is no way to treat people.

“It was just a short message this morning saying you’ve all lost a job, basically – all this service for nothing.

P&O Ferries announcement
Police intervened as protesters blocked the road to the port (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“I’ve seen coachloads of agency crews waiting in the car park at Hyde services, just waiting to come down – it’s as simple as that.

“There’s going to be a protest here. One of the union guys just said if there’s no-one working to come along and support.”

RMT national secretary Darren Procter said: “These people lost their jobs this morning via a Teams meeting. It’s a disgrace, frankly, and this demonstration is a reflection of the anger we all feel.”

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