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Another P&O style scandal is on the cards unless ministers act, TUC warns government

ANOTHER P&O-style mass redundancy scandal is likely unless Tory ministers deliver stronger protections for workers, the TUC has warned.

Today marks six months since the disgraced ferry operator embraced “cowboy capitalism” and illegally sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice or consultation. 

Despite widespread outrage at what the TUC branded the “nadir for the treatment of workers in recent years,” company bosses have escaped criminal proceedings and DP World, the firm’s Dubai-based owner, has posted record half-year profits.

General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Everyone deserves respect and dignity at work, but there are too many bad bosses in this country who treat their staff appallingly and get away with it because of our lax labour laws.

“Eight hundred dedicated seafarers were illegally sacked without notice or consultation – over video call – and replaced with agency workers on less than the minimum wage.

“But despite behaving like corporate gangsters, P&O has been allowed to get away scot-free – and its owner has even registered eye-watering profits on the back of the mass sacking.

“It’s an insult to working people up and down the country.”

The general secretary, who is due to step down at the end of the year following a decade in charge, said “now is the time for government action on workers’ rights.

“Rogue employers need to know they can’t get away with treating staff like disposable labour,” she stressed. 

“Let’s be clear – without stronger protections for workers, another P&O-style scandal is on the cards.”

Earlier this month, Ms O’Grady urged new Tory PM Liz Truss not to be a “P&O prime minister” following reports that Boris Johnson’s successor is planning new attacks on workers’ rights.

The government has already legalised the use of temporary agency workers to effectively break strikes amid this year’s wave of industrial action – the biggest in Britain since the 1980s. 

Further attacks would be a vote-loser, the TUC argued, pointing to recent research its commissioned from polling firm GQR which showed huge support across the political spectrum for boosting workers’ rights.

Nearly eight in ten people – 79 per cent – support retaining holiday pay, safe limits on working time and rest breaks, while about three-quarters back a ban on widely condemned fire-and-rehire attacks on workers, it said. 

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