There is no criminal prosecution for mass layoffs at P&O Ferries

Photo: ANP

British ferry company P&O Ferries will not face criminal charges for its decision to lay off hundreds of workers in one fell swoop earlier this year. This is what the British authorities announced. The mass layoffs have led to great discontent in the UK, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also been highly critical of the situation.

P&O, which also operates between Rotterdam and Hull, abruptly halted all ferries at the berth in March and notified staff that about 800 people would be made redundant with immediate effect. They were replaced by cheaper outside labor.

According to the company, which lost £100m last year, that was necessary to keep the jobs of another 2,200. P&O CEO Peter Hebblethwaite later admitted he had broken the rules during the reorganization by not informing unions about the dismissal. But he said talks with unions would only be a sham.

According to a statement from the UK Insolvency Service, a comprehensive criminal investigation has now been launched to find out whether criminal offenses have been committed. The conclusion is that “there is no realistic prospect of conviction”. An investigation into a possible civil lawsuit is still ongoing.

Seafarers’ union Nautilus International describes the lack of prosecution as a blow to workers who are said to have been “neglected”. The situation is particularly bad for the union because DP World of Dubai, owner of P&O, recently announced that it had posted record profits in the first half of this year. This strong result was probably due mainly to the other branches of the company separated from the ferry business.

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Megan Vasquez

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