No criminal prosecution after massive redundancies at P&O Shipping

© AFP

British ferry company P&O will not face criminal charges over its decision to lay off 800 workers in one go in mid-March. This has been announced by the British authorities. The mass layoffs sparked outrage in the United Kingdom.

wverSource: Belga

“Following a full and thorough criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the employees dismissed by P&O, we have decided that there will be no criminal charges,” the Insolvency Service said in a press release. “There is no realistic prospect of a conviction,” it added. A civil investigation is still ongoing.

P&O, which operates ferries between Great Britain, mainland Europe and Ireland, laid off around 800 workers on March 17. They were replaced by cheap foreign workers.

The airline has consistently reiterated that it has no choice, as its cost model is unsustainable due to the collapse of international travel during the coronavirus crisis and it is losing £100m a year.

Nautilus International Union president Mark Dickinson called the decision not to sue P&O “deeply disappointing”. The decision “will cause frustration for the 786 seafarers and their families who were so cruelly evicted by P&O ferries”. The unionist pointed out that the ferry company had recently reported record profits.

A government spokesperson said it regretted the decision. “In light of their appalling behavior, it is extremely disappointing that the company will not face criminal charges,” the spokesman said.

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