Immingham ferry operator DFDS Seaways is using the coronavirus pandemic as an ‘excuse’ to drive through redundancies and ‘brutal’ attacks on its workers' terms and conditions, Unite said today (Wednesday 22 July). 

Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said DFDS’ plans to cut 62 positions from its 600 strong Immingham workforce and reduce overtime rates and other benefits for hourly paid staff are unnecessary given steadily increasing freight volumes since the lockdown’s peak in April. 

DFDS, where Unite has around 300 members, wants to cut overtime rates from time and a half to basic and implement other measures that will negatively impact hours, shift patterns and pay for workers on hourly wages. 

The company operates both freight and automotive shipping routes between a number of European ports and Immingham,

Unite regional officer Mike Wilkinson said: “DFDS Seaways is using Covid-19 as an excuse to cut jobs and make brutal attacks on its Immingham workforce’s terms and conditions. 

“While many companies have rewarded their staff for working through the lockdown, DFDS at Immingham has chosen instead to punish its employees with redundancies and pay cuts. We consider this action by the company to be grossly unfair and opportunism of the worst kind.

“DFDS’ work volume at Immingham has increased steadily since operations were disrupted in April so there is no reason to enact such severe and draconian measures. Unite will not sit by and let this opportunistic attack by DFDS on our members’ jobs and terms and conditions take place. 

“Our members supported the company during lockdown and are incredibly angry at the way they are now being treated and unless DFDS rethinks its plans and engages constructively with Unite this dispute will only escalate further.” 

ENDS

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes. 

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: ryan.fletcher@unitetheunion.org

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