Protest at Port of Liverpool after ferry operators P&O sack more than 800 staff UK-wide

Video report by Tim Scott.

The ferry operator P&O "is exploiting every loophole in employment law" after they sacked its staff by video message and replaced them with agency workers, according to the RMT.

The company says the action, which has impacted more than 800 members of staff across the UK, has been necessary to ensure its future survival.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said there should be a widespread public and commercial boycott of the ferry giant until the jobs are reinstated.

Demonstrations are being held at ferry ports across the UK, including the Port of Liverpool, on Friday, 18 March.

A protest is also scheduled to take place outside the Conservative Party’s spring conference in Blackpool, with unions saying they are receiving support for the move to be reversed.

Among protesters on Merseyside was Greater Manchester and Liverpool city metro mayors Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram who have condemned P&O's decision.

Mr Burnham called on the government to strengthen employment law to stop "gangster practice".

He said: "I say to the Prime Minister: you have to step in and you have to deliver on your commitment to strengthen employment law so this kind of gangster practice can't be allowed to happen any more."

Meanwhile, Downing Street has warned P&O Ferries that there could be “ramifications” over its decision to sack its seafarers.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Government was looking to see if the company’s actions broke the relevant rules.

“We are looking very closely at the actions that this company has taken to see whether they acted within the rules,” the spokesman said.

“Once we have concluded that, we will decide what the ramifications are. Obviously there are a lot of valid questions in relation to existing contracts, etc.

“We are working through exactly the detail of what action the company took. Once we have have come to that conclusion, we will set out any further steps.”