P&O Ferries held a contract with the UK Border Force to transport workers to and from juxtaposed ports when the usual means via the channel tunnel are unavailable. Juxtaposed ports are facilities in France and Belgium where UK customs and border checks are carried out before travel into the UK.
The review of the UK Government’s dealings with P&O Ferries comes after the firm sacked 800 of its workers without warning in a bid to cut operating costs by replacing staff with agency workers. The Home Office stated that the contract termination was due to P&O Ferries’ “unacceptable behaviour” and was with immediate effect.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to twitter to comment on the move, and highlight the government’s work on reforming minimum wage law for maritime companies.
In a show of govenrment solidarity, Home Secretary Priti Patel who is responsible for the Border Force also took to Twitter.
P&O Ferries owner DP World drew renewed ire from transport unions after CEO Ahmed bin Sulayem praised P&O Ferries CEO Peter Hebblethwaite’s handling of the mass sackings.
“The decision was their decision... we did not interfere and tell them what to do. Peter has done an amazing job because he managed to save the company instead of 3,000 people out of a job,” said Sulayem.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This cannot be tolerated. Employers like P&O, hell-bent on attacking workers’ rights to profit their owners in Dubai, must face effective legal consequences at an international level.”
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