Sailor recounts covert operation to get him on ‘new boat’ despite it being same P&O ferry he recently left

A sailor from Paisley is back on dry land after a covert operation to try to fit him out on a crisis-ridden P&O-run ferry.

Gavin Hamilton has revealed he was taken on a mysterious coach trip to an unknown boat as P&O tried to replace staff he had just made redundant there.

But when Gavin realized what was happening he refused to board the ship, the Cairnryan-based European Highlander.

Ironically, he had just left a long contract on the same boat three weeks earlier and was looking to change companies.

He said: “Going on that boat would feel like crossing a picket line.

“When we realized the RMT was involved and it was a big union dispute, we didn’t want to be part of it.

“For us, stepping aboard this ship was like crossing a picket line.”

Principled Sailor – Gavin Hamilton of Paisley

“We felt like traitors and I knew many crew members who lost their jobs.”

P&O has been brutalized for firing 800 UK employees by Zoom without warning.

Bosses say they must rehire cheaper labor because the business is unsustainable and suffered a £100million loss last year.

Buddie Gavin revealed that they had not received any information about the ship he would be working on.

He only realized it was a P&O ferry when the coach pulled up to the dock.

They were accompanied by a dozen handcuffed security guards.

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Gavin said: ‘We were told the crew on board would not lose their jobs, they were going to be offered contracts.

P&O Ferries laid off 800 workers without notice on Thursday
P&O Ferries laid off 800 workers without notice on Thursday

“We later found out through the news that that wasn’t going to be the case and it wasn’t exactly the friendly transfer we were told it would be.

“We were told it would be a brand new ship.

“But I knew a lot of people on board who were going to lose their jobs and that just didn’t sit well with me.”

The European Highlander was moored in Cairnryan
The European Highlander was moored in Cairnryan

All P&O crossings from UK ports – including Scotland to Larne in Northern Ireland – are currently suspended.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said it would be another week before P&O ships could operate from the port of Larne.

P&O said: “Without these changes, there is no future for P&O Ferries.”

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