The head of the Dubai-based group that owns P&O Ferries has insisted it’s too late to reverse the choice to sack 800 sailors, as he praised its administration for doing an “amazing job” in restructuring the UK firm.
Speaking to the Financial Times on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the chair and chief government of DP World, expressed irritation on the approach the UK authorities turned on P&O after the corporate introduced in March that it will dismiss 800 staff with out session.
Sulayem mentioned the choice was taken by the P&O board with out enter from its Dubai mother or father, and the transfer couldn’t be reversed.
“We said many times, [the UK government] can’t do anything now because [the P&O decision] is in the past,” he mentioned, stressing the corporate’s defence that its two accessible choices have been to change to a less expensive workforce or stop working.
“Peter [Hebblethwaite, P&O chief executive] has done an amazing job because he managed to save the company instead of 3,000 people [being] out of a job,” Sulayem mentioned.
After the choice was taken Hebblethwaite mentioned he was “incredibly sorry” for the fabric influence the surprising sackings had on the workforce. However, Sulayem contradicted that, saying just one employees member had rejected the phrases supplied so “nobody was hurt”.
The selection P&O confronted, he added, was both to sack the sailors or “bring down the company”.
“The decision [the P&O board] made was their decision . . . I personally feel they were caught with a choice to make . . . I told them the decision was theirs . . . and we did not interfere and tell them what to do,” he mentioned.
Although P&O remains to be operating a pared-back schedule, with two of the conventional 5 ships working on the essential Dover-Calais route, Sulayem mentioned extra of its vessels had cleared security inspections after being prevented from crusing following the sackings. As company staff have changed often-longstanding former crew, he mentioned the ferry firm may now compete successfully and assist the federal government transfer items to and from the EU.
“Now the shipping vessels are serving the UK, they are in the sea and they are moving cargo in and out,” he mentioned. He additionally advised the federal government needs to be extra appreciative of those efforts as a result of the corporate was serving to ministers make a hit of Brexit.
Sulayem mentioned ministers solely had themselves responsible for P&O’s actions, linking the job losses with a perceived lack of assist in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. “Had they helped the company, it would have been a different situation.”
P&O obtained £11mn in furlough cash from the federal government, in accordance with Grant Shapps, transport secretary, who has referred to as for the cash to be repaid.
DP World executives mentioned they’d discovered different feedback by Shapps “extraordinary”, particularly when the minister referred to as on shoppers to boycott P&O.
Sulayem mentioned that, regardless of his criticism of the UK authorities, he would welcome its efforts to implement the minimal wage for seafaring employees in ferries docking within the UK.
“It would help us because all the competitors have different wages for their crews,” he mentioned. “That is what we have asked for.”