Tag Archives: ferries

P&O boss calls Shapps’s bluff; what consequences will the firm face?

Grounded: P&O Ferries are being held in dock after failing government safety checks. What other penalties, can Grant Shapps devise for the firm until it delivers an equitable deal for its wrongly-sacked workers.

P&O Ferries boss Peter Hebblethwaite has refused to rehire 800 UK staff after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned him to take them back or face “consequences”.

Shapps’s bluff has been called. What is he going to do?

Shapps has already said the government is reviewing all its contracts with P&O Ferries and its parent firm, ports operator DP World. It’s hard to see how he could justify continuing any of those contracts in the face of this continuing defiance of the law.

And it has already grounded several ships after they failed safety checks.

Hebblethwaite knew before he embarked on the mass sacking that he had not informed the government of his intention to carry it out in the legally necessary time period.

But he has insisted that his decisions – and the illegal way he has carried them out – were the only way to save the firm, as it was losing £100 million per year.

If he were to reverse the sackings, he has said, then the whole company would have to be dissolved, with the loss of a further 2,200 jobs.

It’s a test of character for the Tory government.

Boris Johnson’s cronies have had no problem with hitting down at society’s most vulnerable people.

But now they are faced with a large employer, defiantly saying it is going to do whatever it wants.

Will the government have the courage to treat Hebblethwaite the same as any other lawbreaker? Or will it cave in to Big Money, as usual?

Source: P&O boss refuses to reinstate 800 sacked staff as row with Government escalates

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Tories review all contracts with P&O Ferries and DP World over 800 axed jobs

Amazingly, the UK’s Conservative government is actually doing the right thing – so far!

The government is reviewing all its contracts with both P&O Ferries and parent company DP World after the shock firings of 800 staff over Zoom – exactly as This Site demanded over the weekend.

I didn’t believe a Tory government would actually do it. Even though it hasn’t happened yet, I am forced to applaud Grant Shapps (Transport Secretary) for putting the contracts at risk:

“For our part we’re reviewing all Government contracts with P&O Ferries as a matter of urgency and with DP World and, where possible, we’re looking to use other providers if indeed there are any contracts where the UK Government is involved; I believe at this point that they have been historic in nature rather than current,” Shapps said.

Not only that, but Shapps went further. He said the companies could face criminal prosecution and unlimited fines:

“It’s been quite clear that it’s been handled by the company absolutely disastrously, which is why we’ve asked the Insolvency Service to look at the notification requirements and consider if further action is appropriate – especially if, as we’re concerned, the relevant notice periods weren’t given, the relative consultation didn’t take place,” Shapps said.

“And I can inform the House that that would be a matter for criminal prosecution and unlimited fines as well,” he added.

And he said he was taking steps to remove the companies from influencing UK maritime affairs:

“We’re considering further steps we can take to remove P&O Ferries’ influence from British maritime, including positions on any advisory boards because again I don’t want to see that company, with the way the management has behaved, advising the way that British maritime is shaped and rolls out.”

Safety checks have been ordered on P&O ships – and they will be blocked from sailing if they fail.

And there are concerns that new agency workers from India are being paid just £1.80 per hour, although P&O has said this is not true.

Source: Transport secretary urges P&O Ferries to repair damages or face ‘unlimited fines’ over shock sackings – upday News UK

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Things we’re not likely to see: Tories cancelling P&O owners Free Ports contract

Moored: P&O ferries – and contracts offered to the firm’s operator, DP World – should be mothballed until reparations are made to the 800 workers they have wronged.

Remember This Site’s article on March 19, where I stated that any UK business in a position to do so should find a way to penalise P&O ferries’ owner DP World for the sacking without notice of 800 UK-based employees?

I should have included the government, of course – and isn’t it providential that the UK’s Tory government has awarded DP World two contracts to run Free Ports. On that subject, This Writer agrees with David Osland, below:

Any organisation that treats the people of the UK with contempt should not receive financial rewards of any kind from the UK government. That should be among the most basic conditions of forming a government.

Tory-voting ex-employees of P&O may have been surprised to see their struggle being spearheaded, not by Boris Johnson, but by Jeremy Corbyn:

His argument is a good one. So next week we should see the UK’s Tory government cancelling these two contracts – right?

Well, maybe not. This government runs on greed, and we don’t know what, if anything, was offered to ministers in return for these “lucrative” deals.

So: don’t hold your breath waiting.

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