Owner of P&O Ferries praises 'amazing job' of management after sackings

Credit: PA

The chief executive of P&O Ferries' parent company has reportedly praised management over the decision to restructure the firm and sack 800 members of staff.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, from DP World, said P&O boss Peter Hebblethwaite's actions "saved the company, and 3,000 jobs".

Speaking to the Financial Times he praised the company's management for doing an “amazing job” in restructuring the firm. 

Chief Executive Peter Hebblethwaite's decision to sack 800 seafarers in March and replace them with cheaper agency staff, was widely condemned.

P&O CEO Peter Hebblethwaite Credit: PA

The CEO appeared before a committee of MPs in March to face questions, where he admitted the company broke the law by "choosing" not to consult with trade unions over the decision.

Speaking to the committee, he said: “I completely throw our hands up, my hands up, that we did choose not to consult.

“We did not believe there was any other way to do this to compensate people in full.”

He explained: “We assessed that given the fundamental nature of change, no union could accept it and therefore we chose not to consult because a consultation process would have been a sham.

“We didn’t want to put anybody through that. We are compensating people in full and up-front for that decision.”

The company said it believes the package is the "largest compensation package in the British Marine Sector".

It says 40 employees are receiving more than £100,000 in payouts, which are being linked to the employees period of service. It added that some employees will receive more than £170,000.

The total value of the financial settlement from P&O Ferries is believed to be £36,541,648.

DP World's Mr Sulayem claimed only one staff member had rejected the terms offered so “nobody was hurt”. 

The mass sackings sparked protests across the country, with demonstrations and marches taking place, calling for workers to be reinstated and for Mr Hebblethwaite to lose his job, and even be jailed.

Ferry sailings were suspended during the transition period, which caused major disruption for customers and freight services. A number of vessels were kept out of action after failing safety inspections.

P&O is continuing to run a reduced schedule.