P&O Ferries ‘should hand back £11m in furlough cash’, says Grant Shapps

P&O Ferries ought to hand again the cash paid by taxpayers for employees furlough through the coronavirus pandemic, the transport secretary has stated.

On 17 March, the key ferry operator suspended all providers and instructed practically 800 crew that they had been being made redundant and changed by cheaper company crew.

Showing earlier than the Transport Choose Committee, Grant Shapps stated: “There are three issues that P&O might want to do to get out of this mess and I name upon them as we speak publicly to get on and do it.

“Initially, it’s fully unsustainable to have the top of P&O, the boss Peter Hebblethwaite, who got here to a Committee Room like this and brazenly and intentionally defined how he sought to interrupt the legislation. He really stated that was his intention and that he would do it once more.

“He must go.

“Secondly, for my part, although it’s a matter for P&O themselves, I feel that they should repay furlough cash as nicely. It’s round £11m. I don’t suppose it’s proper that having claimed that cash they then sacked the employees in such a premeditated means, which they themselves admitted broke the legislation.

“Thirdly they must pay the minimal wage. On 10 Might on the Queen’s Speech as promised we are going to make sure that we’re legislating in Harbours Invoice to guarantee that a minimal wage is required for routes which typically plough the commerce between right here and France or right here and Holland.

“They don’t have any selection – they’re going to must pay the right wage for the job.

“Till they do these three issues they gained’t discover their means again into the affections of the travelling public or in all probability those that use them for freight.”

Mr Shapps stated that he was working with counterparts in Paris and Dublin to ascertain “corridors” that don’t enable ferry crew to be paid lower than the nationwide minimal wage.

“Civil and legal motion is already being taken by the Insolvency Service,” he stated.

The P&O Ferries vessel Spirit of Britain is now crusing, carrying solely freight, between Dover and Calais.

The transport secretary refused to be drawn on experiences that the present yr between MOTs for vehicles which can be over three years outdated might be prolonged to 2 years.

“No matter we do by the use of MOTs must match a really rigorous security commonplace.

“I’m all the time trying to do issues that help with the price of residing place.

“There are a lot of methods you can take a look at doing MOTs. You don’t have to maneuver from one to 2 years.

“It’s all the time proper to maintain these items underneath overview.”

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