P&O Ferries refuses to delay redundancy of sacked staff despite criticism


The company has been widely slammed for its treatment of staff (Picture: Getty Images)

P&O Ferries has claimed it cannot change a redundancy deadline of March 31 for staff it fired on the spot earlier this month.

The company sacked 800 seafarers with immediate effect on March 17, before bussing in agency staff on lower wages to replace them.

Today, the company told the Government in a letter that is unable to amend its deadline for its employees to accept the offer.

The claims comes despite a number of threats from Government and a huge backlash to P&O Ferries’ conduct.

Chief Executive Peter Hebblethwaite wrote that he could not delay Thursday’s deadline, since more than 765 of the 786 affected crew members have ‘taken steps to accept the settlement offer’.

He added that he will not resign.

Mr Hebblethwaite wrote in a letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps: ‘I am compelled to discharge my duties for this historical company, saving the jobs of the 2,200 dedicated employees who continue working for P&O Ferries and providing for the effective operation of the trade routes upon which this country depends.

‘I will there continue to do my utmost to ensure that this company has a sustainable business for the future.’

He also told Mr Shapps that he would not reverse the decision to sack his staff.

‘The circumstances which led P&O Ferries to make the decision in the first place still apply’, he wrote.

‘Complying with your request would deliberately cause the company’s collapse, resulting in the irretrievable loss of an additional 2,200 jobs.

‘I cannot imagine that you would wish to compel an employer to bring about its own downfall, affecting not hundreds but thousands of families.’

This is a breaking news story, more to follow soon… Check back shortly for further updates.

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