Dubai-owned ferry company admits violation of law by dismissing 800 British staff without notice

A Dubai-owned ferry company has admitted that it violated the law when it dismissed 800 UK-based staff without notice.

Acquired by Dubai-based logistics giant DP World in 2019, P & O Ferries gets angry on March 17 when it dismisses 800 seafarers without notice and replaces them with cheaper agency workers. Caused.

At a parliamentary hearing on March 24, P & O CEO Peter Hebblethwaite admitted that the ferry operator “absolutely no doubt” needs to consult the union.

Epoch Times Photo
Peter Hebreswaite, Chief Executive Officer of P & O Ferries, answers questions on March 24, 2022, in front of the House of Commons Transport Committee and the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Selection Committee. (PA media)

“Given the fundamental nature of the change, the union could not accept it,” he said. “The consultation process was fake,” so the company decided not to consult with the union. ..

“We didn’t want anyone to do that. We are fully and in advance compensating people for that decision,” he said at a joint meeting of the House of Commons Transport and Business Selection Committee. Told.

“Every employer who owns a ship must notify the appropriate authorities 45 days before the dismissal,” Andrew BurnsQC, a barrister at Devereaux Chambers, told the hearing.

“My understanding from what I heard this morning is that the ship was flagged only on the day of the dismissal and was notified not in advance to the appropriate authorities in the country,” he said. rice field.

It “looks like a violation” of the Employment Law, and “(P & O Ferries) may be responsible for prosecution,” he told the MP.

Hebblethwaite said the new crew was paid below the UK minimum wage except for domestic routes, but claimed that this was permitted under international maritime regulations.

The UK minimum wage for people over the age of 23 is £ 8.91 ($ 11.74) per hour. However, according to Hebblethwaite, the average hourly wage for new crew members is only £ 5.50 ($ 7.25).

“We are paying above the ITF (International Transport Labor Union) minimum wage,” he said.

Hebrewswaite was also informed by P & O Ferries owner DP World on November 22 that he would change the company’s business model, so Transport Minister Grant Shapps knew last year’s intention to cut employment. Insisted.

However, the Ministry of Transport (DfT) denied prior knowledge of the dismissal.

“DP World did not mention the changes to the P & O ferry to the Minister of Transport, and there were no signs of any subsequent completely unacceptable changes,” a DfT spokeswoman said.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan