The decision by P&O Ferries to dismiss 800 long-standing employees in March 2022 and replace them with agency staff attracted widespread criticism. The case highlights the gaps in British labour law, including the limited remedies available and weak enforcement mechanisms. It has also exposed weaknesses in the international labour law regime and global business & human rights framework. However, the P&O case is part of a trend in short-sea shipping in European waters, especially since a proposed EU Directive that would have imposed European conditions on all vessels sailing in EU waters failed to pass.
The University of Bristol’s Centre for Law at Work and Institute of Employment Rights will host a roundtable discussion between labour law and industrial relations experts to dissect the relevant legal issues and think about what avenues are open to provide justice to the affected workers. The panellists will also offer their thoughts on what needs to change to prevent a similar recurrence in future.