P&O Ferries: rival companies’ executives to meet government officials

LONDON, (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Following rival P&O’s plan to lay off 800 employees, executives from Stena Lines and DFDS will meet with government authorities later today.

The Department for Transport (DfT) acknowledged the meeting but did not specify what would be discussed, despite concerns about port chaos over the Easter holidays.

Ministers are trying to understand how the continuance of services in partnership with other operators, notably Stena and DFDS can be assured, a Department for Transport spokesman said.

Ian Hampton, Stena’s chief operating officer and head of fleet management and government affairs, is expected to attend, as are the union representatives.

On March 17, hundreds of P&O employees were fired without warning, and replacements were hired at minimum wage, infuriating unions, lawmakers, and consumers of the 150-year-old shipping company.

On Saturday, protests were held at ports in Hull, Liverpool, and Dover, with people chanting “P&O, shame on you.”

P&O CEO Peter Hebblethwaite had previously denied that the business had broken any criminal laws, but on Thursday he confessed that the corporation had broken employment laws by neglecting to communicate with unions and employees.

According to the study, it will cost £309 million to keep P&O running during the consultation period.

Meanwhile, the PA news agency reported that P&O Ferries performed a study last year to look into options for keeping the company afloat.

The analysis estimated that it would cost £309 million to keep the business running for three months in the least while speaking with employees on job losses.

It chose not to have a comprehensive staff consultation about the anticipated job losses, citing a source who told PA that a lengthy consultation would have disrupted the business and harmed customer confidence.

P&O thinks that laying off the 800 staff has helped secure the company’s long-term viability as well as the jobs of 2,200 other employees.

‘We needed a fundamental change,’ P&O says.

According to a company spokesperson, over 90% of the impacted seafarers are in talks to take advantage of the severance packages.

They added they were sorry for the impact it had on the people and affected their families. They have lost their jobs, and the company understands their feelings of rage and shock.

To make the firm profitable, they needed to make significant changes. They  struggled with this decision for a long time, but once it was realised it was the only way to salvage the company, they had no choice but to act.

All alternative paths resulted in the loss of 3,000 jobs and the closure of the company.

By making this difficult decision, the company ensured its future sustainability as well as the trading capacity of the United Kingdom.

They said they were dedicated to ensuring that any former and current employees affected receive continuous and ongoing support.

The effort to get the workers back on the ships, operating these important ferry routes safely, continues, and the corporation needs to face up to the real facts and accept responsibility for their cruel actions, said Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union.

Ashton Perry

Ashton Perry is a former Birmingham BSc graduate professional with six years critical writing experience. With specilisations in journalism focussed writing on climate change, politics, buisness and other news. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and media freedom, Ashton works to provide everyone with unbiased news.