P&O Ferries: Transport secretary calls for Peter Hebblethwaite to resign

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The transport secretary has called for the CEO of P&O Ferries, Peter Hebblethwaite to go after he admitted to knowingly breaking the law in the mass sacking of 800 staff.

Grant Shapps said the chief executive of P&O Ferries should resign after his “brazen” and “breathtaking” comments about “knowingly breaking the law”.

Mr Shapps told SkyNews: “I thought what the boss of P&O said yesterday about knowingly breaking the law was brazen and breathtaking, and showed incredible arrogance.

“I cannot believe that he can stay in that role having admitted to deliberately go out and use a loophole – well, break the law, but also use a loophole.”

Pressed on whether that meant he was calling for Mr Hebblethwaite to resign “right now”, he said: “Yes.”

Yesterday the firm’s chief executive admitted the firm broke the law by choosing not to consult over the mass sacking of 800 workers on the spot.

When asked by the Conservative MP Nus Ghani if ​​he would “change anything, knowing what you know now”, Peter Hebblethwaite said: “This is the only way to save this business and we have moved to a model that is internationally recognized across the globe. and widely used by our competitors.

“I would make this decision again, I’m afraid.”

Read on for the latest news and developments.

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P&O trying to ‘distract attention’ with claims government knew about job cuts, says Shapps

Grant Shapps said P&O Ferries was trying to “distract attention” from its failure to provide notice of job cuts by claiming it informed him of its plans last year.

The company’s chief executive, Peter Hebblethwaite, said on Thursday that Mr Shapps knew about the intention to slash jobs in November, although that was strongly denied by the Department for Transport.

Asked if Mr Hebblethwaite was “lying” about this, the transport secretary told SkyNews: “I’ve sent the note, actually, from the meeting in November, which was with a parent company – DP World – when I was at World Expo, where they simply said the competition’s very tough, the conditions are very tight … and they’ll be looking at the shape of their business. I’ve actually sent the formal civil service note of that meeting.

“I think we can all see that what they’re trying to do is distract attention. The fact of the matter is that they needed to give 45 days’ notice to ministers, in fact to the Secretary of State for Business, if you’re making these kind of redundancies. They did not do that, they did not provide the notice.”

“But P&O have made redundancies in the normal way in the past, including particularly during coronavirus, and so that in itself, whilst obviously really unfortunate – if they’d gone through the normal consultation process, worked with the workers, worked with the unions , we wouldn’t be sitting here where we are today.”

Lucy Thackray25 March 2022 07:58

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Buenos dias

Good morning and welcome to The Independent‘s travel liveblog, where we’ll be following all the latest news and updates.

Lucy Thackray25 March 2022 07:48

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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