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City MP demands government acts over P&O Ferries betrayal

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has demanded Ministers take action over ‘disgusting’ treatment of staff by P&O Ferries as Labour writes to the Prime Minister calling for him to “stand up for loyal workers in Britain” after 800 P&O Ferries’ staff were sacked without notice.

The City MP has welcomed efforts by the Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP, who is visiting the sacked workers at Dover port and is demanding the Prime Minister take action including considering:

  • Suspending the contracts and licences of DP World – the owner of P&O Ferries – until this matter is resolved
  • Remove DP World from the UK Government’s Transport Advisory Group where they were appointed by the now Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, “to provide knowledge, experience and strategic expertise” on trade negotiations
  • Claw back taxpayers’ money handed over to DP World during the pandemic
  • Outlaw fire and rehire.

And in a letter to the Prime Minister, Labour has asked Government to address concerns including when Ministers were notified of the redundancies, whether they were aware of the tactics that would be used by P&O Ferries and their intention to breach employment law prior to the announcement.

Labour has also called on the Prime Minister to explain whether the issue was raised on his visit to the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, whose investment arm is the ultimate owners of P&O Ferries.

P&O used to operate services from Portsmouth Port delivering goods and passengers to mainland Europe (Caen, Cherbourg, Bilbao and Le Havre) until 2010.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“What P&O Ferries have done is disgusting. British seafarers don’t need empty platitudes from Government, they need action from Ministers.

“A number of constituents who are ex-employees have already got in touch with me sharing their disappointment in how the company is shamefully treating the workforce. That’s why I’m calling on Government to suspend licenses and contracts P&O Ferries and DP World hold with Government and claw back every taxpayer’s penny taken from the company during the pandemic.

“I will also continue to work alongside trade unions to campaign for the outlawing of draconian fire and rehire practices.

“It is about time this Government stood up for Britain’s workers”.

Commenting Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP said:

“This was a despicable assault on workers’ rights.

“But British seafarers do not need meaningless platitudes – they need action.

“That’s why the government must consider suspending licences and contracts held with DP World, claw back every penny of taxpayers money, and outlaw fire and rehire now.

“Boris Johnson went to the UAE with a begging bowl, and as he returned eight hundred British workers were sacked without notice by one of their investment arms.

“The Government must now stand up for loyal workers in Britain being undermined by overseas billionaires.”