P&O to pay out more than £36m in compensation to sacked staff

22 March 2022, 20:12

P&O Ferries has said it will pay out more than £36 million to sacked workers
P&O Ferries has said it will pay out more than £36 million to sacked workers. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

P&O Ferries has said it will pay out more than £36 million in compensation to staff who were sacked without notice last week.

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

Forty employees are in line for more than £100,000, with the total value of the settlement being £36,541,648, P&O said.

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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.

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.

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.

The session will examine what options are available to the 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."