UK minister sets out last opportunity for P&O to rehire sacked personnel

Grant Shapps, the UK transportation secretary, has actually provided P&O’s management “one further opportunity” to rehire the 800 personnel it sacked this month prior to the federal government generates a “comprehensive package of measures” created to require the business to reappoint its British seafarers.

In a letter to Peter Hebblethwaite, president of P&O Ferries — sent out on Monday early morning — Shapps stated the federal government would not wait while the business “brazenly ignored” the requirement to treat its personnel with due regard.

“I believe you will be left with little choice but to reverse your decision in any case,” he composed. “A reversal at this point may also go some way in starting to repair your firm’s reputation with the public, many of whom will show their own disgust at your treatment of workers by simply choosing an alternative operator.”

P&O, which fired 800 employees this month without official assessment, wishes to halve its labour expenses by changing teams with worldwide firm personnel on a typical per hour rate of £5.50.

But the federal government will today advance legislation requiring all ferryboat business running out of UK ports to pay the nationwide base pay. “On top of reviewing contracts you hold with government and asking the Insolvency Service to investigate your actions, this week I will go further,” Shapps composed in Monday’s letter.

“I will be bringing a comprehensive package of measures to Parliament to ensure that seafarers are protected against these types of actions . . . I intend to block the outcome that P&O Ferries has pursued, including paying workers less than the minimum wage.”

The legislation will eliminate a loophole in UK law by ruling that ferryboat business need to pay the British statutory base pay, whose primary rate will increase to £9.50 from April.

Hebblethwaite confessed recently that P&O had actually picked not to seek advice from on the 800 redundancies — a breach that would leave it open to paying “protective awards” of 90 days’ pay, on top of redundancy payments, if required to a tribunal. The business has stated it lost £100mn in 2015, which needed to be covered by moms and dad business DP World of Dubai.

Shapps informed the president he had a last chance to instantly use all 800 employees their tasks back on previous terms, conditions and incomes — “should they indeed want them back at this stage”.

Mark Dickinson, basic secretary of Nautilus, a union representing sacked P&O employees, supported calls to renew employees on the very same conditions.

However, he stated that some employees would not be prepared to return. P&O Ferries stated recently that it remained in conversations with 575 of the 786 sacked seafarers.

“Based on those figures, it seemed likely that significant numbers of members will be looking for employment elsewhere,” he stated.

Shapps likewise gotten in touch with the business to drop a March 31 due date for seafarers to react to its redundancy deal.

He stated P&O had a long and happy history and stated ministers were eager to assist the business restore the “trust that has been lost”.

P&O did not instantly react to an ask for remark.


News and digital media editor, writer, and communications specialist. Passionate about social justice, equity, and wellness. Covering the news, viewing it differently.

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