Grant Shapps confirms he’ll block P&O Ferries’ attempt to hire cheap labour as another ship is detained

By Linsey McNeill
29/03/2022
Home » Grant Shapps confirms he’ll block P&O Ferries’ attempt to hire cheap labour as another ship is detained

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has written a stern letter to the head of P&O Ferries warning that the Government will block the company from hiring cheap agency workers.

His letter was sent just hours before coastguards detained a second P&O ferry, the Pride of Kent, in Dover over safety concerns.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) had earlier detained P&O Ferries’ European Causeway in Northern Ireland.

A spokesperson for the MCA said: “Our surveyors are in the process of detaining the Pride of Kent. We are awaiting confirmation of all the detainable items.”

P&O Ferries fired 800 staff earlier this month and announced it would replace them with cheaper casual workers instead.

But in his letter to P&O Ferries’ CEO Peter Hebblethwaite, Mr Shapps said he intends to bring ‘a package of measures’ before Parliament, which will prevent ferry companies from paying below minimum wage.

Some of the replacement staff will be paid almost £3.50 an hour below the minimum wage.

Mr Shapps said he ‘intends to block the outcome that P&O Ferries has pursued’ and he urged the company to reinstate the 800 on their previous terms, conditions and wages.

Mr Shapps also said that he is reviewing Government contracts with P&O and asking the Insolvency Service to investigate its actions.

His full letter to Mr Hebblethwaite is below:

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