P&O Ferries boss will face questions from MPs tomorrow over sackings

P&O Ferries boss Peter Hebblethwaite will face questions from MPs tomorrow over the sacking of nearly 800 staff last week.

The CEO will appear before a joint Transport and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee hearing on Thursday, the committees confirmed.

Representatives from trade unions and experts in employment law have also been invited to give evidence in the rare joint session tomorrow.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The news comes after the firm insisted that it did not commit any offences with the shock redundancies last week.

A P&O ferry remains moored at the Port of Dover in KentA P&O ferry remains moored at the Port of Dover in Kent
A P&O ferry remains moored at the Port of Dover in Kent

Mr Hebblethwaite, said all vessels involved were registered outside the UK and the relevant authorities in each case had been notified.

In a letter to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng dated March 22, Mr Hebblethwaite said the “very clear statutory obligation in the particular circumstances that applied was for each company to notify the competent authority of the state where the vessel is registered”.

He wrote that notification had been made to the relevant authorities on March 17, and that no offence had been committed regarding notifying the Secretary of State.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said the firm was “painfully aware” of the “distress” caused to workers and their families on being sacked without warning or consultation, but added that this course of action was taken as a “last resort”.

P&O Ferries has announced it is offering more than £36 million in compensation to sacked staff, with 40 employees in line for payments of more than £100,000.

It said payouts would be linked to the period of service, and in some cases exceed £170,000.

The total value of the settlement is £36,541,648, with no worker set to receive less than £15,000, the company said.

Employees are also being given support to find a new job at sea or onshore.

The ferry giant said that 575 of the 786 seafarers affected are in discussions to progress with the severance offers.