Criminal investigations opened into P&O Ferries UK after it sacked 786 employees

   April 2, 2022 ,   Accidents

The UK government's business misconduct watchdog launched criminal & civil probes into P&O Ferries.

The move comes a couple of weeks after P&O Ferries sacked ~800 workers and replaced them with a lower-paid crew, a decision that the UK government called illegal.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed on Friday, April 1, that the Insolvency Service (part of his department) had decided to launch a formal investigation into "the circumstances surrounding the recent redundancies made by P&O Ferries".

The investigation of the Insolvency Service is on the grounds that it failed to consult workers/unions and did not notify the Secretary of State before making the decision. It's also looking into concerns about the conduct of PO’s directors.

Spirit of Britain ferry

According to a government spokesperson the Insolvency Service had confirmed it had "commenced formal criminal and civil investigations into the circumstances surrounding the recent appalling behaviour of P&O Ferries."

Mr. Kwarteng wrote to the Insolvency Service on March 23, asking the watchdog to undertake an "urgent and thorough enquiry" into the mass layoffs, to "determine whether the law has been complied with and consider prompt and appropriate action where it has not."

The Insolvency Service responded, informing Mr. Kwarteng that following an inquiry, it had decided to press ahead with a criminal & civil investigation.