Search

P&O ferries appear to have broken the law – Prime Minister

The Prime Minister today said that P&O Ferries’ decision to sack 800 members of staff without notice appears to have broken the law. Speaking at Prime Ministers Questions, the Prime Minister referred to section 194 of the Trades Union and Labour Relations Act of 1992, which states the “duty of employer to notify competent authority of a vessel’s flag State of certain redundancies.”

The Prime Minister said that the firm could face fines “running into millions of pounds” if found guilty, as he also encouraged workers themselves to take action under the 1996 employment rights act.

Following recent reports that the agency staff being brought in to replace the 800 redundant workers were earning as little as £1.81 per hour, he also announced that the Government would be taking steps to protect mariners in UK waters, ensuring that they are all paid the living wage.

This comes as P&O Ferries announced that the 800 redundant staff would be offered redundancy packages of £36.5 million in total, with around 40 getting more than £100,000 each and no employee receiving less than £15,000. However, the RMT union which has been organising protests over the redundancies said that “the pay in lieu of notice is not compensation.”

What will the government actually do?

P&O Ferries have been accused by ministers of not following the legal process for making large-scale redundancies, by not consulting with unions or notifying the government in time. As was noted by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, this failure to notify the government is “a criminal offence and can lead to an unlimited fine.”

However, the chief executive of the firm Peter Hebblethwaite has claimed that the sacked workers were employed by three Jersey-based arms of the company. Many companies in the UK ferry industry also use this ‘offshore-employment’ model to avoid paying Employers National Insurance, and to issue contracts with fewer employee protections.

However, the key question is, where the firm decided to terminate these contracts? If the decision was taken in the UK, then the government will be unable to take action as UK employment law will not apply. In line with this, ITV News reported that P&O Ferries also had around 50 Dutch and French crews who were not dismissed yesterday as the Dutch and French employment contracts would have made this much more difficult.

Share

Related Topics

Latest

Plans for Diagnostics: NHS Screenings and Sunak’s Agenda

As long waiting lists for the NHS continue to persist, and people receiving diagnoses in adequate time has not reached its target, Sunak ventured on a campaign trail yesterday to trumpet new measures aimed at promoting timely diagnostics. This was to help ensure he can meet one of his top five priorities: cutting NHS waiting lists.

Hunt’s Bold Vision for the Economy

Hunt primarily proposed his bold vision for the economy and highlighted the value of investing in life sciences and the NHS especially during its time of crisis.

Video Features

Does Democracy Require Proportional Representation?

Marking LGBT+ History Month 2024

How Can We Make the UK the Greatest Place to Grow Old?

Why Should Women Stand for Office?

Subscribe to our newsletter for your free digital copy of the journal!

Receive our latest insights, future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Newsletter Signup

Receive our latest insights as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.