Local MP and Chair of the Transport Select Committee Huw Merriman has condemned P&O's 'shameful' move to terminate hundreds of employees and replace them with foreign labour.
Commenting, Huw said:
This is deeply concerning. The Government must do everything it can to ensure that this appalling employment transaction cannot be completed. Concerns remain as to whether this is lawful.
In the House of Commons, Huw raised further concerns about P&O's decision and called for a robust Government response.
Huw Merriman MP:
P&O, that once great flag carrier of the seas, has made an appalling error. If it does not reverse that error immediately, reinstate the employees and follow proper process, it is hard to see a way back for it commercially. The parent company, DP World, needs to understand that the British public will not do business with companies that treat their employees with such contempt. Will the Government do everything within their power and influence, including tabling emergency legislation if necessary, to ensure that this appalling employment transaction cannot be completed?
Robert Courts MP, the Maritime Minister:
I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. I repeat that this is a fast-moving situation, and we are reviewing it both as it develops and as it exists. I will certainly review what arrangements exist as we go forward, and I can certainly commit myself to working with all Government Departments to consider what relationships we have with P&O. I will also try to see whether there is anything I can do in the particular circumstances with which we are dealing, although commercial matters affecting a company are primarily a matter for the company itself, within the constraints of employment law. In this country we have high standards of employment law, and we expect those standards to be respected and upheld.