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P&O offers over £36 million in compensation to sacked staff

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

22 March 2022

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

It comes after nearly 800 workers were fired without notice last week, sparking backlash from across the political spectrum.

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

It comes as a spokesman for Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed the Government had received a letter from P&O in response to his questions about the shock move by the 5pm deadline on Tuesday.

The total value of the settlement is £36,541,648, P&O said.

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

The company added that 575 of the 786 seafarers affected are in discussions to progress with the severance offers.

A P&O ferry remains moored at the Port of Dover in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)
A P&O ferry remains moored at the Port of Dover in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A spokesperson for P&O Ferries said: “This has been an incredibly tough decision for the business: to make this choice or face taking the company into administration.

“This would have meant the loss of 3,000 jobs and the end of P&O Ferries.

“In making this hard choice, we have guaranteed the future viability of P&O Ferries, avoided large-scale and lengthy disruption, and secured Britain’s trading capacity.”

Meanwhile, MPs have said they are keen to question the P&O chief executive, Peter Hebblethwaite, about the situation.

Mr Hebblethwaite has been invited to attend an evidence session jointly held by the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Transport Committees on Thursday March 24, which will examine what options are available to Government and the workers who have lost their jobs.

In a statement, the committee chairs Darren Jones and Huw Merriman said: “From P&O Ferries, our members want to know why this action has been taken and how it can be justified.

“From the Government and its agencies, we want confirmation that our laws are not being broken and safety is not being compromised on our ships.

“This shocking story has raised questions about UK employment law, safety practices, the support of this business through a pandemic and the redress available.

“We intend to hear from the key players about what they are going to do that means these workers are not left high and dry.”

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