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P&O Ferries appear to have ‘broken the law’ Prime Minister says

todayMarch 23, 2022 3

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The Prime Minister said it appears to him that P&O Ferries have “broken the law” over the controversial sacking of 800 workers. He told the House of Commons that the Government will be “taking action”, and encouraged workers to do the same.

His statement came as the company’s chief executive issued an apology for the impact of the decision to sack the staff without notice. Peter Hebblethwaite said he understood the “anger and shock” about the loss of jobs.

His statement came amid continued protests by unions and workers and followed confirmation that he would appear before MPs on Thursday to be questioned about the dismissals. He said: “I want to say sorry to the people affected and their families for the impact it’s had on them, and also to the 2,200 people who still work for P&O and will have been asked a lot of difficult questions about this.

Read more: ‘All P&O Ferries sailing staff made redundant with immediate effect’, reports say

“Over the last week, I’ve been speaking face-to-face to seafarers and their partners. They’ve lost their jobs and there is anger and shock and I completely understand.

“We needed fundamental change to make us viable. This was an incredibly difficult decision that we wrestled with but once we knew it was the only way to save the business, we had to act.

“All other routes led to the closure of P&O Ferries. I wish there was another way and I’m sorry.” Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has asked the Prime Minister to guarantee that P&O Ferries and DP World will not get a “penny more of taxpayers’ money” or a “single tax break” until they reinstate the workforce.

Sir Keir said: “Let’s test his rhetoric. Since the Prime Minister came to office, P&O have received over £38 million of Government contracts and the parent company DP World is lined up for £50 million of taxpayers’ money under the Free Ports Scheme.

“The Government is apparently reviewing these contracts, but reviews don’t save jobs. Can the Prime Minister guarantee that these companies will not get a penny more of taxpayers’ money or a single tax break until they reinstate the workforce?”

Boris Johnson replied: “I think what the House has already heard is that we are taking legal action against the company concerned under the 1992 Employment and Trade Union and Labour Relations Act. that is the right thing to do because it seems to me that they have broken the law.

“If he’s asking this Government to do what Labour usually want us to do, and actively pitchfork away investment around the country from overseas business, then that is not what we will do. We will take them to court, we will defend the rights of British workers. What we will not do is launch a wholehearted campaign as they would want against overseas investments because that is completely wrong and wrong for those workers.”

P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite has agreed to be questioned by MPs over the firing of nearly 800 workers without notice. The under-fire boss will appear before a joint Transport and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee hearing on March 24, the committees confirmed.

In a statement, Mr Hebblethwaite said: “I want to say sorry to the people affected and their families for the impact it’s had on them, and also to the 2,200 people who still work for P&O and will have been asked a lot of difficult questions about this. Over the last week, I’ve been speaking face-to-face to seafarers and their partners. They’ve lost their jobs and there is anger and shock, and I completely understand.

“We needed fundamental change to make us viable. This was an incredibly difficult decision that we wrestled with but once we knew it was the only way to save the business, we had to act. All other routes led to the closure of P&O Ferries. I wish there was another way and I’m sorry.”

Written by: thehitnetwork

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