Nautilus international has expressed its disappointment after the UK Insolvency Service announced that it will not be taking legal action against P&O Ferries.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng asked the Insolvency Service to investigate whether any offences had been committed after the company sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice or consultation on 17 March 2022.
An Insolvency Service spokesperson said: ‘After a full and robust criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the employees who were made redundant by P&O Ferries, we have concluded that we will not commence criminal proceedings.’
The Service noted that its investigation was reviewed by an independent senior prosecution lawyer in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, who concluded there was no realistic prospect of a conviction for the alleged offence that the company failed to notify unions of its actions, in accordance with section 193 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
A civil investigation into P&O Ferries’ actions by the Insolvency Service is ongoing.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: ‘This is a deeply disappointing decision and will be met with frustration and anger by the 786 seafarers and their families who were so cruelly discarded by P&O Ferries.
‘Only one day after P&O Ferries parent company announced record profits, making the company’s claims on operational sustainability questionable, we are further let down by a system that fails to punish apparent criminal corporatism.
‘We note the Insolvency Service are continuing to pursue a civil investigation.
‘The message is clear, P&O Ferries must be held properly accountable for their disgraceful actions and we will continue the campaign to ensure that the CEO and his fellow Directors are held to account and to make certain this can never happen again.’