‘Disgraceful’ ferry firm P&O should hand back £10m of furlough cash after sacking entire workforce, minister says

SHAMED ferry firm P&O should hand back the £10 million in taxpayers’ cash it acquired beneath the Covid furlough scheme, a raging minister mentioned in the present day.

Armed forces minister James Heappey mentioned the corporate had acted “abominably” in shedding 800 workers and stress-free them with company employees.

P&O sparked fury yesterday as it sacked all its staff
P&O sparked fury yesterday because it sacked all its workersCredit: PA
Armed forces minister James Heappey said the firm should hand back furlough cash
Armed forces minister James Heappey mentioned the firm should hand back furlough cash

And he warned bosses Treasury attorneys are already exploring the right way to recoup the pandemic cash which was doled out to assist it maintain workers on.

Ministers are additionally now taking a look at beefing up labour rights amid fears the fee of dwelling disaster will see a spike in pay disputes.

P&O Ferries sparked outrage yesterday when it brutally axed 800 crew members over Zoom and cancelled all sailings for as much as 10 days.

Ports had been rapidly plunged into chaos following the 11am announcement as passengers, employees and lorry drivers had nowhere to go.

At Dover, dozens of workers who misplaced their jobs stood on the highway with banners and flags saying: “Stop the P&O jobs carve-up.”

Mr Heappey admitted the Government is powerless to assist them get their jobs back, however mentioned it’ll take a look at recovering taxpayers’ cash.

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He raged: “It’s disgraceful. I don’t assume the Government acquired way more discover than the workers of P&O did.

“Sadly the Government can’t pressure an employer to proceed to make use of folks the employer has mentioned it doesn’t wish to make use of.

“It’s an absolutely horrendous ways to treat their staff. There’s a lot of anger amongst ministerial colleagues.”

The armed forces minister was requested whether or not taxpayers’ could be getting back the £10m furlough cash in response.

He replied: “It definitely feels to me that it will be the appropriate factor to do for P&O to hand that cash back.

“I’m sure that colleagues and the Treasury and the Department for Transport will be looking into it.”

Government attorneys are already wanting into recouping the cash however worry it might be troublesome to construct a case.


Mr Heappey mentioned the shock improvement has additionally sparked new plans to crack down on “despicable” rent and hearth insurance policies.

“I do know that my colleagues within the division for enterprise are taking a look at how we do crack down on this as a result of it’s more and more frequent.

“There is a actuality that as we enter right into a interval the place there’s inflation, and there might be a problem to value of dwelling, inevitably there might be a rising quantity of disputes over pay.

“And so obviously colleagues are looking at how we make sure that workers are protected and supported and that businesses can’t behave as P&O did yesterday.”

His remarks come after MPs from throughout the political divide ripped into the ferry firm over its determination.

Huw Merriman, who chairs the Transport Select Committee, mentioned: “P&O, this once-great flag carrier of the seas, have made an appalling error.”

All three Hull MPs – Tory Karl Turner and Labour’s Emma Hardy and Diana Johnson, wrote to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urging additional motion.

I’m extraordinarily involved and admittedly indignant on the manner employees have been handled by P&O Ferries

Transport minister Robert Courts

They mentioned: “This surprising transfer has been made with out warning, discover or session in a deliberate try and undercut the wages and circumstances of British seafarers.

“This is regardless of P&O Ferries’ homeowners, Dubai-based DP World, having acquired tens of millions of kilos in taxpayer help through the pandemic.

“Who acquired over £10million by means of the furlough scheme, and requested a £150m bailout from Government, regardless of DP World paying out £250million to shareholders.

“We cannot allow a dangerous precedent to be set, all the more so on transport routes which are strategically vital to the UK.”

A visibly livid transport minister Robert Courts informed the Commons the choice will result in “disruption” for travellers.

He mentioned: “Reports of employees being given zero discover and escorted off their ships with rapid impact whereas being informed cheaper alternate options would take up their roles reveals the insensitive manner during which P&O Ferries have approached this difficulty, some extent I’ve made crystal clear to P&O Ferries’ administration.

“I am extremely concerned and frankly angry at the way workers have been treated by P&O Ferries.”

The ferry company's decision sparked chaos at ports
The ferry firm’s determination sparked chaos at portsCredit: AFP

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