Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, is calling for transport secretary Chris Grayling to resign after it emerged that he and his department had appeared to ignore Eurotunnel, in its ‘no deal’ Brexit planning.

Unite represents over 350 members at Eurotunnel who now fear for their jobs after it emerged last week that the government has awarded contracts worth £103 million to ferry companies Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight to run additional services in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

No Ships

Infamously, Seaborne Freight was awarded its contract despite having no ships and no usable harbour at Ramsgate.

The decision to ignore Eurotunnel, which provides the fastest and only permanent connection to the continent and which moves millions of tonnes of freight every year, has left its workers fearing for their jobs. The workers are worried that the government contracts will be used to entice existing customers away from Eurotunnel.

In a letter, acquired by the Financial Times it has emerged that Eurotunnel’s chief executive Jacques Gounon has written to Mr Grayling accusing him of engaging in anti-competitive practices, confirming that Eurotunnel could undertake the work and threatening legal action, if similar contracts are not awarded.

Unites representatives at Eurotunnel have also written to Mr Grayling demanding that the contracts decision is revised so their company is no longer excluded.

New level of incompetency

Unite national officer for the rail industry Harish Patel said: “How on earth could Chris Grayling and the entire Department of Transport simply ignore Eurotunnel when planning for a ‘no deal’ Brexit?

“These revelations reveal new levels of incompetency at the department and demonstrate that it is simply incapable of undertaking the most basic planning exercise.

“This latest fiasco underlines that the entire transport industry has lost all confidence in Chris Grayling and he should resign immediately.

“This must be the first time in history that the awarding of government contracts could lead to the loss of jobs rather than their creation.

“The Department of Transport must revisit these contracts and ensure that Eurotunnel is fully included in its ‘no deal’ Brexit planning.”


Notes to editors:

Financial Times: Eurotunnel accuses Grayling over Brexit ferry deals

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.