28 MARCH 2022


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Article from BTNews 28 MARCH 2022

P&O Ferries’ chief told to resign

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that P&O Ferries’ move to sack almost 800 workers without notice last week appears to have broken UK employment law.

The firm could face fines “running into millions of pounds” if found guilty, he told the House of Commons on Wednesday (23 March).

Johnson said: “Under section 194 of the Trades Union and Labour Relations Act of 1992, it looks to me as though the company concerned has broken the law.  “And we will be taking action therefore, and we will be encouraging workers themselves to take action under the 1996 Employment Rights Act”.

The PM also said the government will take steps to protect mariners working in UK waters and “ensure they are paid the living wage”.

P&O Ferries’ Chief Executive, Peter Hebblethwaite, who has been called on to resign, appeared at a meeting of the Department for Transport (DfT) and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) joint committee on Thursday (24 March), where the committee Chairs Huw Merriman and Darren Jones asked him to explain the decision to carry out the sackings with no notice and to ascertain whether the action was legal.

Hebblethwaite has already told ministers that the sackings were a “last resort” to save the company.

The staff made redundant will be offered a total of £36.5m. Some employees are set to get 91 weeks’ pay and the chance of new employment, and no employee would receive less than £15,000.

The firm, owned by Dubai-based DP World, denied breaking the law when workers were abruptly dismissed.



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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

John Oliver,

What will be the next overseas owned company to collapse and walk away from its obligations? P&O Ferries have set a bad precedent it they get away with this move.

Susan Oliver, Maidstone, Kent

We are booked, and paid for, P&O Ferries for June from Dover. Wiil UK passengers shun the company? I will feel ashamed to travel with them.