P&O Ferries under criminal investigation: UK government

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  • P&O Ferries is the subject of a criminal and civil investigation by the UK Insolvency Service.
  • The boss of the company admitted in front of the deputies that the company had not respected its legal obligations.
  • The company has drawn widespread criticism after laying off 786 people without notice.

P&O Ferries is under criminal and civil investigation after the company fired 786 people without notice and replaced them with lower paid crew members.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed on Friday afternoon that the Insolvency Service had launched a formal investigation into “the circumstances surrounding the recent redundancies made by P&O Ferries”.

Kwarteng had written to the watchdog on March 23, calling for an “urgent and thorough investigation” into the mass layoffs of P&O, to “determine whether the law has been complied with and consider prompt and appropriate action where it has not. not been”.

P&O Ferries furloughed staff without notice on March 17 as the company came under heavy criticism for its handling of the redundancies. The staff was replaced by less well paid temporary workers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said chief executive Peter Hebbethwaite ‘came before MPs and admitted he had broken the law, and his actions now had to be reviewed’.

He was referring to Hebblethwaite appearance before MPs, during which he said that the company “chose not to consult” seafarers’ unions before laying off 786 workers.

“There is no doubt that we were required to consult the unions. We chose not to,” admitted Hebblethwaite.

The government has been highly critical of the decision, unveiling plans this week which it said would leave “little choice” unless P&O Ferries reversed its decision.

In a letter to Hebblethwaite made public on Monday, Shapps said the proposals before Parliament “would block the outcome that P&O Ferries has been pursuing, including paying workers less than minimum wage”.

A P&O Ferries vessel was detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on March 26 over safety concerns regarding crew training.

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