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How P&O Ferries broke the law – and what the consequences might be.

P&O admits choosing an illegal course with its mass sackings, but will ministers do anything about it?

What exactly has P&O Ferries done?

Last week it summarily sacked 786 crew working on ships sailing from UK ports, telling them that this was their last day in employment and that they would be replaced by new crew brought in by a third party. Ministers expressed their immediate outrage – but have not yet followed up with any action.

But isn’t it illegal?

Yes – but possibly not as illegal as you might think. There are two specific areas where P&O clearly admits to have flouted employment law, but neither necessarily lead to sanctions from the UK government. Ministers are currently taking advice from the Insolvency Service on possible action. Despite the prime minister claiming that P&O Ferries would be prosecuted under section 194 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act of 1992, no action has yet been taken.

What exactly are the dodgy bits?

An employer has a) to give 45 days notice to the relevant authorities when planning to make significant redundancies, and b) to consult the workforce, normally via unions.


John Bellamy Comments: If P&O - a mighty million £ corporation thinks it is above the law and can do whatever it wants to its staff - And if any large company thinks it can act in such an underhanded and cruel manner towards its staff - And if any company thinks it can pay less than the legal requirement and use untrained staff on a vessel that requires highly trained staff at ALL TIMES - And if a company thinks the people of the world, you and I, see this and say and do nothing about this appalling behaviour, then P&O are more stupid than ever.
If ever there was a time when we should be AVOIDING P&O - using anyone and everyone else and NOT P&O, then this is the time. A message must be sent to these corporations that it is us - THE PEOPLE - who can make or break your business and treating staff in this appalling manner shows us all that you do not care about people or even safety, but the buck, the money, the income and the massive bonuses taken by bosses for a failing company.


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