P&O aims to restart Channel crossings in time for Easter Business

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, called on Mr Hebblethwaite to resign and pledged to pass new laws to force P&O to pay minimum wage.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is part of the Department of Transport.

The P&O spokesman added: ‘For customers still affected by wider disruption, we are refunding any passengers booked to travel with us to whom we have been unable to provide alternative services. Customers can contact our customer service by email or phone for a refund.

“Anyone whose trip has been interrupted by P&O will also receive a free trip to use on a future trip with us, which can be taken later in the year. We thank our customers for their patience during this time and apologize to customers whose trips have been canceled and disrupted. »

Separately, a former P&O Ferries chief has launched a £76million legal battle against the company after claiming he was treated unfairly and lost his job because he was British.

John Lansdown, one of 800 seafarers who was suddenly made redundant three weeks ago, is the only former employee to take action against P&O after refusing to accept severance pay.

The 39-year-old, who joined P&O as a trainee aged 16 and earned £30,827 a year, is seeking up to £76million in damages after claiming unfair dismissal, racial discrimination and harassment.

He claims his nationality affected his dismissal as P&O replaced staff with non-British crew who could be paid an average of £5.50 an hour, less than minimum wage.

He also said the workers were kicked out by private security guards wearing balaclavas and handcuffs.

A P&O spokesperson: “P&O Ferries’ decision to dismiss seafarers was categorically not based on the race or nationality of the staff involved. No staff involved in the dismissals wore balaclavas and received no the order to use handcuffs or force.”

Mr Hebblethwaite shocked MPs earlier this month when he said his company broke the law by sacking 800 seafarers on the spot and would do it again if necessary, telling a Commons emergency committee that there was “absolutely no doubt” that under UK labor law the ferry operator was required to consult unions before redundancies.

Mr Lansdown called the firings a ‘sham’ in the legal documents, adding that he wanted to use all the money from his claim to campaign for an end to the ‘fire and hire’ practices and hoped his case would ‘deter “P&O to do the same. again in the future.

His decision comes days after the opening of a criminal investigation into P&O Ferries following the sacking of 800 sailors a fortnight ago.

The Insolvency Service said it had “launched formal criminal and civil investigations” into the actions of the ferry operator and its directors.

A P&O spokesperson added that the company has “offered improved termination terms to those affected to properly and promptly compensate them for the lack of warning and consultation – all staff have offered these terms, at the except Mr. Lansdown, have accepted this offer”.

“The business was losing £100m a year, and no shareholder would be able to continually fund that year. P&O Ferries needed fundamental change to make it viable.”

Mr Lansdown said: ‘The actions of P&O Ferries have disrupted the lives of 800 loyal and dedicated seafarers and their families. Their grotesque disregard for due process in this country will set a dangerous precedent if allowed to continue’ .

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This notice was published: 2022-04-06 16:41:46

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