Criminal probe launched against P&O over sacking of 800 seafarers
The Insolvency Service has launched criminal and civil investigations into the sacking of nearly 800 seafarers by P&O Ferries.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter: “The Insolvency Service has reviewed P&O Ferries’ actions and placed it under criminal investigation for its actions.
“Peter Hebblethwaite stood before MPs and admitted to breaking the law, and his actions must now be scrutinised.”
He tweeted: “Following my letter to the Insolvency Service last week, formal criminal and civil investigations into P&O Ferries have now commenced. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and I will continue to follow this matter closely as the investigations progress.”
In a letter to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Dean Beale, head of the UK’s insolvency service confirmed the government agency would be launching both civil and criminal investigations into the Dubai owned firm.
“I can confirm that the Insolvency Service has initiated both formal criminal and civil investigations into the circumstances surrounding the recent redundancies made by P&O Ferries,” Beale said.
The probe comes after P&O rejected a request from the government to rehire the 800 employees it let go, as the ferry operator claimed that doing so would lead to the collapse of its business.
The UK’s Insolvency Service has powers to disqualify unfit company directors and investigate and prosecute breaches of company and insolvency law and other criminal offences on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We are clamping down on companies, like P&O, which brazenly mistreat staff in this way. This week, we announced nine new measures to protect seafarers, and P&O’s criminal actions are rightly being investigated by the Insolvency Service.”