‘Is it even legal!’ Kate Garraway fumes over as P&O sacks 800 workers by video

Kate Garraway says child refugee needs to practice his English

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A backlash against P&O Ferries is growing after the firm sacked 800 staff without giving them any notice. After the news had been announced by Kate Garraway on Good Morning Britain, the newsreader couldn’t contain her rage over the firing. During a discussion with travel expert Simon Calder, Kate questioned whether the company’s move was “legal”.

On Friday’s episode of the morning show, the ITV host began: “The way they made the announcement was made by, you have to wonder whether he wanted to be making the announcement, Stephen Nee, who is Head of Internal Relations, you know, there was absolutely no emotion in it.”

Speaking to travel expert Simon, she asked: “I mean, do you think he was as shocked?

 “Where do people even know about this, is it even legal Simon?”

In response, the expert discussed the technicality that means “normal UK employment law doesn’t apply”.

“Well, in terms of the legality, I’ve been taking a lot of advice from various people.” 

Steve continued: “It appears that because the sea farriers were employed by a company in Jersey, they were technically international mariners and therefore normal UK employment law which, of course, would require the unions to be consulted, simply doesn’t apply. 

“Therefore, it sort of, strikes me Kate as though there was somebody in Dubai, where DP World, the company that owns P&O is based, who looked at the numbers and thought, ‘Well, this isn’t any good.’”

He continued: “And they tried to apply [for] a settlement that might work in that part of the world but certainly doesn’t work here. 

“It’s a solution which is just absolutely devastating, that was the word I heard more than any other talking to the sea farriers here in Dover, during the day yesterday.

“It’s much more than just a job when you’re working on a ferry, it’s a lifestyle, lots of camaraderie, [it’s] very hard work, [and] very long hours but you do it because you love the job.

“Suddenly, they were told not only have you lost your job but you’ve effectively lost your whole lifestyle,” Simon told the ITV

P&O claimed almost £15m in government grants in 2020, which included furlough payments for its employees.

Former transport minister Sir John Hayes also criticised the “capricious, careless, callous” decision by P&O Ferries, and suggested the government should “recover any monies granted to P&O during the pandemic” in a bid to reverse it.

John added: “Don’t let anyone tell me this is the free market. 

“The free market put little girls in factories and boys down mines, and both at risk on the high seas; we thought those dark days had gone – P&O are either too dim to see that or too dastardly to know it.”

In a statement, the ferry operator said: “We have made a £100m loss year-on-year, which has been covered by our parent DP World. This is not sustainable. Our survival is dependent on making swift and significant changes now.

“Without these changes, there is no future for P&O Ferries.”

Good Morning Birtain airs weekdays on ITV from 6am

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