P&O’s shock mass dismissal and whether the move was unlawful

There are fears of a repeat of P&O’s shocking layoff of 800 employees. Businesses are struggling at the moment and it appears P&O staff have not received any advance warning

P&O protesters outside the Port of Hull
P&O has laid off 800 of its workforce in a move that has raised questions about workers’ rights

The shocking layoffs of P&O Ferries employees stunned the business community yesterday amid fears similar layoffs could be carried out by other struggling companies.

P&O fired its employees in a short Zoom call and has faced a major backlash online and from MPs. There are reports from the company Hire security personnel to escort workers off the ferries.

The government is now examining whether P&O broke the law.

Sea Secretary Robert Couts said: “Reports of workers being notified without notice and escorted off their ships with immediate effect whilst being told cheaper alternatives would take their place demonstrate the insensitive nature with which P&O has approached this issue. “

Labor Shadow Transport Secretary Louise called the move a “despicable attack on workers’ rights”.

Around 800 workers were laid off in what P&O described as a “tough” decision UK employment law issues.

The move means there are fears struggling companies could follow P&O in laying off their workforce. Was it legal and what should employees do if they are in a similar position?

partners at Buckworth’sMichael Buckworth has some expert comments on the subject.

Can I be terminated without warning – what are my rights?

Businesses can fire workers, but workers still have rights


(Getty Images)

Employers are allowed to dismiss employees and the procedure can be carried out consensually if deemed mutually beneficial to both parties.

However, it is usually a difficult situation for any worker to be made redundant and a period of notice must be given.

Dismissal rules depend on the size of the employer, but in general certain criteria must be met for a dismissal to take place.

There is often an unofficial “last in, first out” rule for employers who are struggling. Individuals may be selected for dismissal based on disciplinary records, employee reviews, and qualifications. The employer can also ask employees to voluntarily opt for an extended package.

Selection processes are eliminated when the company shuts down an entire facility to make savings.

The following reasons are not grounds for termination:

  • Skin color
  • sexual orientation
  • gender
  • disability
  • Religious belief
  • Pregnancy or marriage statues.
  • gender transformation
  • Take action for health and safety reasons
  • perform jury duty
  • You are the trustee of a company pension scheme
  • Health and Safety Activities
  • working time model, e.g. B. Part-time or temporary employees

If you suspect that you have been terminated for the above reasons, you should contact the employer for an abusive dismissal. A lawsuit in an employment tribunal for wrongful dismissal may be worth considering.

Mr Buckworth explained: “In order to make a claim, the employee must obtain a reference number from ACAS (an independent arbitration service), which generally involves ACAS going to the employer and trying to see if a settlement can be reached without the agreed may have to claim.”

Was PO&’s move illegal?

It’s not yet clear whether P&O’s move to lay off 800 employees was legal


Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

At this time we do not know enough about the situation to assess whether or not P&O’s mass redundancies were unlawful. However, experts believe P&O’s move “might have been unlawful” if it was a potential breach of legal obligations.

An employer planning to lay off more than 100 people at a time must consult with their employees before making the final decision.

The minimum duration for consultations and the first release is 45 days, according to the government website.

Mr Buckworth said: “P&O’s move may have been unlawful. It has been reported that Nautilus International (a shipping union) has claimed that P&O failed to consult with its employees before firing them. If that is indeed the case (and we do not know if that is the case at this point), P&O may have breached its legal obligations.”

Could movements like P&Os become more common?

There are fears that measures like P&Os could become more common as companies suffer



There are fears that P&O’s drastic moves could be replicated by other companies.

Businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and now there is an energy crisis made worse by the war Ukraine. Brexit Effects on the UK business will also take effect.

P&O reportedly lost around £100m year-on-year in what its parent company DP World described as “unsustainable”.

Mr. Buckland added: “For many companies, employees are a very large part of their overall costs.

“Workers are not to blame for their employers getting into financial difficulties. There’s not much workers can do to protect themselves, especially when the entire workforce is being laid off, as was the case at P&O. Luckily these types of mass redundancies are not common in the UK, at least from companies that continue to trade.”

The attorney advised people to consider salary protection insurance.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/pos-shock-mass-sacking-whether-26500651 P&O's shock mass dismissal and whether the move was unlawful

Fry Electronics Team

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