Photo: Vladimir Unkovski-Korica Photo: Vladimir Unkovski-Korica

At P&O Ferries Cairnryan, hundreds took to the streets against the brutal attacks on the ferry workers, reports Vladimir Unkovski-Korica.

The sacking of 800 ferry workers by P&O is drawing widespread condemnation from across the country.

In Scotland, RMT organised a protest outside P&O Ferries Cairnryan. A crowd of over 100 rallied against the sackings.

Banners from across the labour movement were visible: RMT, Unite, UCU, Nautilus International, the People’s Assembly, the Labour Party and a variety of socialist groups.


Speakers denounced the brutality of the sackings, coming at a time when the increase cost of living is at record highs. They asked who can afford to take the new jobs being offered at £1.80 per hour.

One speaker likened the sackings to when Ronald Reagan ordered the public arrest of striking air controllers in 1981, to cow the American trade union movement.

An injury to one is an injury to all. This attack – emboldened by Tory support for fire and rehire – will be used to spread attacks on all workers.

This is why wider trade union solidarity is critical. Most speakers pledged support from their union and called for a change in legislation, and the nationalisation of P&O Ferries.


But as some speakers pointed out, to win, workers need to break anti trade union laws around secondary action. Dockers and river pilots in Hull show the way. Refusing to handle the P&O’s Pride of Hull, they should be an inspiration to others.

Union leaders should take note, as a victory for one would also be a victory for all.


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Vladimir Unkovski-Korica

Vladimir Unkovski-Korica is a member of Marks21 in Serbia and a supporter of Counterfire. He is on the editorial board of LeftEast and teaches at the University of Glasgow.

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