Posted on November 24, 2022
Turning nearly 800 people in less than 30 seconds flat is the “feat” achieved by Peter Hebblethwaite, head of P and O Ferries, a company which notably provides links between France and the United Kingdom. . This earned him the title of “worst boss in the world” awarded by the International Trade Union Confederation, succeeding Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary (2018) and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos (2014).
Peter Hebblethwaite has just won a title which he would have done well, that of “worst boss in the world”, awarded Monday, November 21 by the International Trade Union Confederation, after an online vote. The boss of P&O Ferries, a company which transports passengers and goods between the United Kingdom and France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, caused a scandal last March, by firing nearly 800 employees by a simple pre-recorded Zoom video message, without prior notice or consultation with the unions. This is a breach of UK employment law.
Footage obtained by BBC South East shows the moment P&O Ferries staff were informed they had lost their jobs. pic.twitter.com/dvRnptHfC9
— BBC South East (@bbcsoutheast) March 17, 2022
When questioned by lawmakers, Peter Hebblethwaite unabashedly admitted breaking the law and even said he would do it again. The matter is still under investigation and could be the subject of legal action. She had created controversy across the Channel, especially since the 24-second video was followed by a letter sent to employees, in which Peter Hebblethwaite asked the sailors fired on the spot to “refrain from any public comment” . In it he explained that the company was losing £100m a year and that the new crew model would cut crew costs by 50%. Its parent company, the Dubai-based DP World group, nevertheless made big profits a few months later.
Transport industry CEOs in union crosshairs
“Peter Hebblethwaite had already been voted the worst employer in Europe by the Congress of the European Transport Workers’ Federation in May. He had to drop out of a panel discussion at an industry event in the United States after receiving a letter Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee CEOs in the transportation industry have been warned: if you don’t stand up for workers’ rights and guarantee them decent jobs, safe working conditions, respect and dignity, the international trade union movement is sure to hold you to account,” said Stephen Cotton, general secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation.
The boss of the British ferries collected 39% of the votes cast, ahead of his American counterpart from Amazon Jeff Bezos (25%) and the CEO of the Australian airline Qantas, Alan Joyce (20%), indicated the confederation to the AFP. Other shortlisted candidates for the ‘worst boss of the year’ title also included Gina Rinehart, head of Australian mining group Hancock Prospecting, Starbucks’ Howard Schultz and Emirates airline’s Ahmed bin Said Al-Maktoum. .
On the list of “worst boss in the world”, Peter Hebblethwaite succeeds Ryanair general manager Michael O’Leary (2018) and Jeff Bezos (2014). Next year, the title could well be given to Elon Musk, who also shone with his shock dismissals during the takeover of Twitter.
Concepción Alvarez @conce1 with AFP