P&O Ferries UK will not face criminal proceedings over the mass sacking of ~800 crew earlier in 2022, sparking calls for a change in the law.
P&O provoked public anger and was also hauled in front of MPs to answer questions when it sacked hundreds without notice in March this year.
Kwasi Kwarten (business secretary) had asked the Insolvency Service to investigate whether any criminal/civil offenses had been committed.
In a statement, the government agency said that it had determined there was “no realistic prospect of a conviction”.
“After a full and robust criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the employees who were made redundant by P&O Ferries, we have concluded that we will not commence criminal proceedings.”
A civil investigation is currently ongoing.
Tory MP Huw Merriman, chairing the Commons transport committee, called for legislation in order to ensure that a company like P&O Ferries could not do the same again.
“The disgrace is on P&O but the disgrace will be on parliament if we don’t fix it and stop it from happening again. The law isn’t strong enough and as MPs we need to legislate to make sure that it is."
According to Nautilus International, a union that represents maritime professionals, the decision of the Insolvency Service would be a blow to the “discarded” workers.