Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, has condemned P&O Ferries for the shameful sacking of 800 workers based in Britain and demanded the company reinstate the workforce. In a Labour Party Opposition Day debate on Monday, he supported a motion to outlaw fire and rehire so this can never happen again.
The mass sackings without notice have rightly 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 to sit idly by and not 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.
Despite P&O Ferries having no direct business operations in Ogmore, Chris Elmore pointed to their treatment of employees as evidence that current employment laws no longer protect working people from unfair practices.
Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, said:
“The action taken by P&O Ferries is a national scandal and a betrayal of the workers that kept this country stocked throughout the pandemic, upending the lives of 800 workers based in Britain overnight.
This is a cruel consequence of the Tory assault on workers’ rights. The threat of fire and rehire as a negotiating tactic is causing workers unimaginable financial and mental pressure. The UK Government must outlaw this destructive practice.
Our workers deserve more than just warm words from the UK Government, they need action. A Labour Government will strengthen employee protections and ban fire and rehire to give people the security they deserve for an honest day’s work. By protecting the things that matter most to us we can ensure we have an economy that works for everyone.”