Government knew of ‘game plan’ for mass layoff of P&O Ferries, Labor says Business News

Government knew of ‘game plan’ for P&O Ferries mass laying off 800 seafarers before company announced job cuts – but did nothing to stop it, secretary claims to Shadow Transport.

On Saturday, Labor MP Louise Haigh claimed to have a copy of a government memo on P&O Ferries’ intentions which she said was widely shared by ministers and seen by No 10.

Ms Haigh was opening an Opposition Day motion in the Commons on the behavior of the ferry company, which was widely condemned.

Labor demands the immediate reinstatement of the sailors.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he heard at 8.30pm on Wednesday that P&O Ferries intended to make layoffs.

He said that in previous rounds of layoffs, which took place in 2020 and 2021, the company consulted with workers and it was reasonable to assume the same would happen on this occasion. Instead, he said, “This has been handled by the company in an absolutely disastrous way.”

Mr Shapps said the decision was commercially sensitive so there was a limit to what ministers could say.

The transport secretary criticized the non-disclosure agreement workers had to sign if they wanted the proposed redundancy terms, as well as the way some workers learned of their plight, via a pre-recorded video link.

“There is no excuse for what we saw last Thursday,” he said.

Mr Shapps also said he would ask P&O Ferries to change the names of the ships, including The spirit of Brittany and Pride of Kent if they had no British crew on board.

“That would be completely inappropriate,” he said.

He said the government was reviewing the contracts it held with P&O Ferries and DP World, the parent company.

The transport secretary also said criminal charges could be brought against P&O Ferries management if they are found to have breached employment law.

Earlier, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady chanted “Seize the ships” during a protest outside Parliament.

Ms O’Grady said: ‘If we let P&O off the hook then every worker in this country knows they can come get us next.

“So we won’t let them get away with it.

“Migrant workers are not the enemy. Bad bosses are.

Other speakers at the protest included former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and current deputy leader Angela Rayner.

More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2022-03-21 17:11:24

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *