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PO boresong5 TeesportGMB Union has called on the Government to support ferry workers after P&O began furloughing workers.

The union warned ferry companies may go bust if the Government fails to step in and provide much needed support for the industry.

Frank Macklin, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “P&O carries 15 per cent of the total goods that arrive into the UK every year and when they start advising us that they have a problem, we all have a problem. We need to sit up and listen to them.

In total, 33% of goods carried by P&O is food such as fresh fruit and vegetables. The rest is made up of other essential items such as medicines, medical equipment and hazardous products such as detergents and other cleaning products.

“Whilst the current government continues to promise lots of popular and morale boosting schemes for employers, employees and the self-employed, it has become very apparent access to these schemes and promises is neither easy nor the quick fix that this government are announcing to great fanfare.

“GMB is calling on the Government to step up and match its words with meaningful action that will help companies such as P&O to protect their staff.

“They must be allowed to get on with the job of getting goods to the right place at the right time, instead of having to worry if they will be able to pay their staff’s wages or be in a position to carry on trading.

“At the end of the day, it would appear that despite this virus slowly spreading across the globe to the UK, our Government have been in hibernation and have woken up way too late to stop it from killing hundreds if not thousands of UK residents.

“Ministers also seems to be lacking when it comes to keeping the essential logistical operation moving.

“It is now time that this Government is held to account for its actions or in this case its lack of action.

“GMB is demanding the Government get around the table unions and ferry operators to ensure no one is left behind in the effort to keep this industry running whilst we are in the deep crisis in which we find ourselves.”

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