Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has written the head of P&O Ferries to shame the boss into reversing the firm’s bombshell decision about workers and to urge him to reverse cuts and pay staff minimum wage
Mr Shapps has written to the company’s shamed boss Peter Hebblethwaite urging him to reverse way cuts and pay staff the national minimum wage of £9.50.
The Transport Secretary is expected to table measures this week that will prevent companies being able to employ fire and rehire tactics.
It follows reports that Government officials knew about P&O Ferries’ plans to sack 800 crew via a recorded Zoom call, but did not challenge them.
Mr Shapps is expected to hold talks with rival operators of P&O Ferries in a bid to avoid chaos at UK ports over the Easter holidays.
He will meet with DFDS and Stena Line today (MON) to understand if they will be able to fill the hole left by the shamed company.
Boris Johnson and Mr Shapps have called on Mr Hebblethwaite to quit after he admitted the company had deliberately broken the law and he would do it again.
Mr Hebblethwaite is paid £325,000 to run P&O Ferries and lives in a lavish Cotswold farmhouse worth more than £1.5million.
He told MPs last he “would do it again” – and refused to say if he could live on the new workers’ £5.50 hourly wage.
Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said: “P&O has produced a blueprint for rogue employers to slash wages and the Tories have done nothing to stop them.”
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Over the weekend, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) tweeted a video which showed P&O dockers in Rotterdam refusing to load freight onto a ferry set for Hull “in solidarity with the 800 seafarers illegally sacked by P&O”.
Labour has written to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng asking whether the Government will seek the removal of P&O Ferries’ chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite as a director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.
A P&O Ferries engineer told the Mirror he only learned he was sacked once a security guard with handcuffs urged him to “pack up and leave” the ship he was set to live on for six months.