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P&O Ferries: update from the Insolvency Service

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

The Insolvency Service has provided an update following its urgent enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the redundancies made by P&O Ferries 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 Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy asked the Insolvency Service to investigate whether any offences had been committed in relation to P&O Ferries’ dismissal of 786 employees on 17 March 2022.

The offence alleged was failure to notify in accordance with section 193 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 contrary to section 194(1) of that Act.

The Insolvency Service conducted a criminal investigation, which 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.

The civil investigation by the Insolvency Service is ongoing. During the hearings in Parliament the business admitted that it had broken the law that would have forced them to give notice of the firings. This was because no unions would have accepted its new proposals, bosses said at the time.

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