Karin Smyth MP demands the Government ban fire & rehire and calls on P&O Ferries reinstate their workforce
Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has condemned P&O Ferries for sacking 800 workers based in Britain and demanded the company reinstate the workforce. In a Labour Party Opposition Day debate on Monday, she voted to outlaw fire and rehire so this can never happen again.
The mass sackings without notice have caused outrage nationwide, amid reports suggesting firms with balaclavas and handcuffs were used to take sacked British workers off the vessels. The Conservative UK Government were made aware of the sackings before it was announced, and of the plan to use exploitative fire and rehire, but chose not to intervene.
Labour called on the UK Government to outlaw fire and rehire and bring forward an urgent Bill to strengthen workers rights, suspend the contacts of DP World – the owner of P&O Ferries – until this matter is resolved, and remove DP World from the UK Government’s Transport Advisory Group where they were appointed by the now Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, “to provide knowledge, experience and strategic expertise” on trade negotiations.
Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:
“I was shocked and disgusted to hear that P&O Ferries had sacked 800 British based workers with no notice last week, upending hundreds of peoples lives. This is a national scandal and we cannot let these actions go unchallenged.
“The Conservative Party has created an environment where big companies think they have license to throw good employment practices aside, and the actions of P&O Ferries must have consequences. The Government must outlaw the destructive practice of fire and rehire and bring forward their Employment Bill urgently.
“In Parliament last week I also urged the Minister to meet with members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Irish Government to ensure this scandal doesn’t affect this vital trade route and disrupt our supply of goods and services.
“Labour will fight every step of the way for the jobs and livelihoods of these loyal workers, and Tory MPs must join us in voting to ban the cruel practice of fire and rehire. The Conservatives need to decide which side they are on – loyal workers in Britain or billionaires eroding workers rights.”