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20 Mar 2023

UK: One year on from P&O mass sacking scandal, govt. fails to strengthen worker protections & close legal loopholes, as 70% of workers leave the industry, unions find

In March 2023, unions and workers marked the first anniversary of the P&O Ferries Scandal, where nearly 800 seafarers were sacked without notice.

In a report, the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) accused the UK government of failing to address the ways by which P&O broke the law during the sackings, including its failure to address: the company's duty to consult when making collective redundancies; the unfair dismissal of workers; the failure to notify relevant government authorities; and the breach of Director duties. The TUC also noted that the government had failed to act after P&O exploited loopholes in minimum wage legislation, and warned of 'gaping' loopholes in the new Seafarers Bill.

Furthermore, a study by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) found 70% of the P&O workers who had worked at the company for over 10 years were now either unemployed or working in another industry, while 32% were still waiting for their personal belongings to be returned. 80% of members reported experiencing a significant or severe mental health impact following the mass sackings.

On 18 March 2023, protesters gathered at Dover to mark the anniversary, with Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT union, calling the company's lack of punishment for the sackings 'obscene'.

Company comments can be found below.