P&O Ferries boss should quit amid ‘brazen arrogance’, says Shapps

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By Steve Jones
25/03/2022
Home » P&O Ferries boss should quit amid ‘brazen arrogance’, says Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has insisted the boss of P&O Ferries should quit for his ‘breathtaking’ admission that he knowingly broke the law by sacking 800 staff.

Shapps said Peter Hebblethwaite displayed ‘brazen, breathtaking arrogance’ and should not remain in his job.

The comments came after Mr Hebblethwaite admitted he knew he was breaking the law in the way staff were sacked and ‘would do it again’.

Speaking to Sky News this morning, Shapps said: “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.

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

Shapps said he would also look to change legislation to force a U-turn and prevent P&O Ferries from paying below the minimum wage.

Mr Hebblethwaite, whose basic annual salary is £325,000, said crew drafted in to replace the sacked staff were being paid as little as £5.15 an hour, below the UK’s minimum wage of £8.91.

Mr Shapps said: “What I’m going to do … is come to Parliament this coming week with a package of measures which will both close every possible loophole that exists and force them to U-turn on this.

“We are not having people working from British ports … plying regular routes between here and France or here and Holland, or (anywhere) else, and failing to pay the minimum wage. It’s simply unacceptable and we will force that to change.”

He added: “My message to P&O is simple, their wheeze is not going to work.

“We are going to legally require them to go back on it [so] they might as well start on that now.”

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