Shipping company P&O cannot reverse the decision to lay off 800 employees immediately, as the British government wishes. Chief Executive Hepplethwaite wrote in a letter to British Transport Secretary Shapps that this would irreversibly lead to the company’s demise.
“At your request, it will mean the deliberate collapse of the company, which will lead to the loss of 2,200 additional jobs,” CEO says† “I can’t imagine you expecting that from your employer.”
He said something similar to a parliamentary committee last week. There, he also admitted that his company had broken the law by not bringing the decision to the unions first.
less than minimum wage
So British politicians and trade unions got angry when the shipping company A week and a half ago 800 employees were fired per video message, with immediate effect. Mass layoffs will be necessary to get the company financially healthy again in one fell swoop.
Instead of permanent employees, P&O wants to hire temporary foreign employees, which could put them below the UK minimum wage. From next month, that will be £9.50 an hour (around €11.25), while temporary workers earn just £5.50. According to the company, it works the same way in other parts of the world.
The question is whether the P&O plan will work. Prime Minister Johnson’s government wants to require shipowners who dock in British ports to pay British minimum wages to their staff. New legislation should regulate this.
A ferry service operates between Rotterdam and Hull and between Dover and Calais.
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