21st March 2022
Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
Good morning At last winter is over and spring is officially here! Yesterday marked the first day of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere with the clocks going forward by one hour this Sunday. And before that the UK is set to bask in sunshine this week with temperatures set to hit 19C.
Backlash over P&O firings
Flurry of bids for Chelsea FC
TRANSPORTBacklash over P&O firings
What’s going on?
Outrage continues over P&O Ferries decision to sack 800 crew with immediate effect and replaced them with agency staff.
Why is this important?
Last Thursday P&O Ferries staff found out via a pre-recorded video message that it would be their final day of employment, before security teams escorted them from their ships.The English Channel crossings operator said the move was necessary to secure its future after years of losses. In the most recent financial year it posted a £100m loss driven by the slump in travel due to Covid-19.But critics have pointed out that the company’s owner DP World is controlled by the Dubai sovereign wealth fund – an investment group with over $300bn of assets.Serious questions have been raised over the legality of the firings. Under UK law employers must consult with staff and speak to trade union representatives if they want to make 20 or more staff redundant within any 90-day period. Given the outrage from staff and trade unions, it’s clear P&O didn’t do this.Employers also have to tell the government if they want to let more than 100 people go which, from leaked documents, it appears P&O did. The government is facing criticism for not doing enough to challenge the P&O’s actions, it now says it’s reviewing the legality of the firings.
Firing so many people without a consultation process is uncommon but there is unfortunate precedent. In 2005 airline food maker Gate Gourmet sacked 700 workers over a megaphone before rehiring a third of the staff on lower pay and worse conditions.As there was no consultation process, P&O staff could claim for unfair dismissal by taking the company to an employment tribunal, but this can be a long and costly legal process.Undoubtedly P&O’s reputation will take a serious hit with #boycottpando surfacing on social media.
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SPORTFlurry of bids for Chelsea FC
The Ricketts family, who own Major League Baseball team the Chicago Cubs.
British property mogul Nick Candy, supported by former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli.
Consortium of ex-players, including John Terry, as well as British entrepreneurs and fans.
Stat of the day
The average Briton didn't go outside for two and a half days each week during this past winter
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