Unions slam P&O Ferries owner after it announces record £600m profits
Unions have slammed the “corporate gangster” owners of P&O Ferries, who sacked 786 British workers this year, after the company announced record first half profits today.
DP World recorded a first-half profit of $721m (£598m) – a 51.8 per cent year-on-year increase.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary at the Trades Union Congress (TUC), told City A.M. that “these eye-watering profits have come off the back of P&O illegally sacking hundreds of dedicated staff” and that they are “an insult to common decency”.
“Ministers should have stripped DP world of all their lucrative public contracts and severed all commercial ties with the company,” she said.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), said DP World was guilty of “rampant profiteering”.
P&O Ferries’ boss Peter Hebblethwaite admitted that his firm’s decision to sack nearly 800 workers was illegal, as the company had not consulted with unions, but said the decision was key to “saving the business.”
DP World management later credited Hebblethwaite with doing an “amazing job”, however politicians described the sackings as an act of “corporate thuggery.”
The company said profit climbed 51.8 per cent on the year before, despite only 2.3 per cent year-on-year growth in the number of shipping containers it handles.
They said the bottom line benefitted from significantly higher global shipping costs.
Labour shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “The government allowed shocking behaviour from P&O and DP World towards British workers, to find they have made record profits while sacking workers only adds insult to injury.
“This rudderless government should be standing up for British workers yet months on from this illegal act, no action whatsoever has been taken again P&O directors and not a penny of taxpayers money has been clawed back.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said the government’s Seafarers’ Wages Bill “will ensure that seafarers working on vessels that regularly use UK ports are paid at least an equivalent rate to the National Minimum Wage whilst in the UK’s territorial waters”.
“The way that 800 loyal and experienced workers were treated by P&O Ferries was utterly unacceptable,” they said.