Politicians have demanded that P&O Ferries ‘repay the £10million of taxpayers’ cash’ they took for the furlough scheme after the company ‘sacked its entire workforce’.
The ferry operator, which was bought by Dubai based firm DP World in 2019, has cancelled all its sailings over the next few days and will reportedly replace staff with ‘cheaper agency alternatives,’ amid a reported ‘£100million loss’.
Labour MP Karl Turner, whose constituency is East Hull, has reportedly told LBC that businesses ‘can’t behave like this’ and has demanded that the company reimburse taxpayers’ pockets.
He is believed to have said: “All of that money – that £10million for furlough in the pandemic – should be clawed back.
“Any money that the British taxpayer provided to that business should be taken back from them and the government should be saying to the company ‘Get round the table with the unions and negotiate some sort of deal’.
“We cannot have a situation like this whereby businesses can behave like this with British workers.”
Boris Johnson has also hit out at the company.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson has said that the maritime minister, Robert Courts, has been in discussions with its chief executive, adding: “The way these workers were informed was completely unacceptable.
“Our sympathies are with these hard-working employees affected during this challenging time who have given years of service to P&O.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also labelled the company ‘disgusting’ on BBC Radio Humberside.
He reportedly said: ‘It just makes my blood boil. It is a complete betrayal of the workforce. It’s just disgusting.
“This is a company that had furlough during the Covid crisis. It is absolutely disgusting what they are trying to do. They mustn’t be allowed to get away with it.
“I just wish the government had done what we said and strengthened employment rights so they couldn’t do this kind of thing.
“The government said it was going to deal with this sort of situation. It hasn’t done it.”
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