Fear of wider impact of P&O action

The TUC has warned of the need for tough legal action against P&O to avoid other employers following in its path.

 

The TUC has called for tough action against P&O over its summary dismissal of 800 of its staff with the possibility of increased legal penalties. It says that “if one employer gets away with this, every worker is at risk.”

Yesterday P&O fired 800 of its workers by Zoom with plans to replace them with cheaper agency workers.

P&O said it was a “tough” decision but it would “not be a viable business” without the changes.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union is seeking urgent legal action and calling for the Government to take action. The Government has condemned the action.

Employment lawyers say the affair could end up costing P&O “hundreds of thousands” in unfair dismissal payouts and penalties for legal breaches. Workers are employed through an offshore subsidiary.

Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula, said: “The announcement from P&O Ferries has come as a shock to everyone, especially those directly affected. Such poor management and control of what is a very sensitive situation will have a detrimental impact on employee relations.”

Meanwhile, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says the UK government’s decision to freeze income tax thresholds has turned into a £20.5bn “stealth tax”. The policy was expected to raise £8bn a year when Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled it in March 2021. The IFS estimates that the rapid rise in inflation since then will drag many more workers into the tax net. “Inflation has risen rapidly and is expected to rise even further, peaking at more than 8%,” Tom Waters, a senior research economist at the IFS, said. “That means that the tax threshold freeze is now on track to be a £20.5bn tax hike – two and a half times what was originally expected.”

*Picture credit: Roel Hemkes from Amersfoort, Netherlands, and Wikimedia commons.



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