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Nationalise P&O ferries, demands RMT

MARITIME union RMT called yesterday for the nationalisation of international ferry operator P&O after its Dubai government owners announced plans to hand £270 million to shareholders.

The union said the lining of shareholders’ pockets comes as the company is asking for taxpayer-funded subsidies.

It said nationalisation was essential to protect 1,400 UK seafarers’ jobs and strategic supply routes.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Today P&O owners DP World, which is owned by the government of Dubai, will pay [a] £270m dividend to shareholders while at the same time demanding another £150m from the British taxpayer to keep their operation going.

“During the Covid crisis we simply cannot afford to have the UK’s ability to be supported by key shipping services being held to ransom by a corporate foreign owner.

“The UK government needs to act in the national interest and take public control of this vital service or at the very least take a significant public stake.”

P&O Ferries’ Dubai-based parent company DP World said: “A payment was decided in 2019 and DP World is legally obliged to pay it. It is not reflective of current circumstances.”

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