Kate Brooks

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services

DATE PUBLISHED: 22 Mar 2022 LAST UPDATED: 24 May 2022

Have you been dismissed or offered a settlement agreement by P & O Ferries?

There has been a lot of press coverage in relation to P & O Ferries and the alleged sacking of 800 staff without any fair process.

Employees are likely to need advice in relation to the following:

  1. Unfair dismissal – for employees with over 2 years’ service, an employer must have a fair reason for dismissal and follow a fair process relevant to that reason. In a redundancy situation this includes warning employees, at least 2 individual consultation meetings, consideration of alternative employment (this does to have to be suitable and should include consideration of any roles in order to minimise redundancies) and the right of appeal. Losses are likely to include the equivalent of net pay until the employee secures an alternative job, or a cap of up to 52 weeks’ gross pay; Click here to view further information on Redundancies.
  2. Failures in collective consultation – when making over 20 staff redundant in a 90 day period, a collective consultation process will need to be followed which includes set timeframes for consultation, electing employee representatives, and notifying the Secretary of State. In a situation where 800 roles are at risk, the obligation is to consult for at least 45 days. There is a criminal penalty for failing to adhere to collective consultation and a protective award of up to 13 weeks’ pay for impacted employees;
  3. Wages – employees will be entitled to wages up to the termination date, statutory or contractual notice, and outstanding holiday pay;
  4. Redundancy payments – if an employee is made redundant, they are entitled to a statutory redundancy payment and any enhanced scheme offered by the employer; and
  5. TUPE – this legislation provides protection for employees when there is either a transfer of business or outsourcing of work. If work has been outsourced to agencies, there could be an argument that some of the employees should have automatically transferred, or if they have been dismissed that their dismissal is automatically unfair under TUPE;

Settlement agreement?

It is rumoured that P & O have offered some employees enhanced redundancy payments and the offer of new roles in a different company. It has been reported by the press that these payments and new roles are subject to employees entering into settlement agreements.

It is quite common for an employer to offer a settlement agreement if there is an offer of an enhanced redundancy payment, or a potential problem with the process followed.

It is usually a requirement of a settlement agreement that the employee has the opportunity to have it explained by an independent lawyer. No doubt this is an extremely stressful time for all of those involved; however this offers some comfort to employees, as they will have the opportunity to discuss the terms and potential negotiation with an independent lawyer of their choice.

If you have been offered a settlement agreement – we can help and are happy to offer a free meeting, and can often accommodate a same day meeting either in person or remotely.

You can view our settlement agreement news articles below:

If you have any questions regarding dismissal, redundancy, or settlement agreements please do not hesitate to get in touch with Kate Brooks, Partner and Head of our Employment Team on kate.brooks@ellisjones.co.uk or 01202 057754.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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