Friday 19th August, the Insolvency Service announced it was not taking criminal action against P&O Ferries.
A little over five months ago, P&O Ferries unlawfully sacked 786 British based seafarers without notice or consultation. In evidence before a committee of Parliament, CEO of P&O Ferries, Peter Hebblethwaite, admitted that he had broken the law by not consulting the Unions.
Under section 193 of the Trade Union Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, it is our belief P&O Ferries had a legal obligation to inform the Secretary of State 45 days in advance of sacking the 786 seafarers. P&O Ferries did not do this.
Under the legislation, failure to notify the Secretary of State is a criminal offence that can carry an unlimited fine.
P&O Ferries, under the legislation, had an additional obligation to inform the competent authorities in the flag states ahead of the mass sacking, in this case Bermuda, Cyprus and the Bahamas, which they also failed to do.
Nautilus is disappointed that the Insolvency Service and Crown Prosecution Service have decided not to undertake criminal proceedings as it remains our firm belief that P&O Ferries engaged in a criminal offence by failing to notify the Secretary of State.
Nautilus general secretary, Mark Dickinson said “This is a deeply disappointing decision and will be met with frustration and anger by the 786 seafarers and their families who were so cruelly discarded by P&O Ferries.”
“Only one day after P&O Ferries parent company announced record profits, making the company’s claims on operational sustainability questionable, we are further let down by a system that fails to punish apparent criminal corporatism.”
“We note the insolvency service are continuing to pursue a civil investigation.”
“The message is clear, P&O Ferries must be held properly accountable for their disgraceful actions and we will continue the campaign to ensure that the CEO and his fellow Directors are held to account and to make certain this can never happen again.”
Source: Hellenic Shipping News