The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Dover have condemned the sacking of 800 people from P&O Ferries.
Most Rev Justin Welby and Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin said P&O’s decision was “inhumane and unethical”.
“Ill-treating workers is not just business. In God’s eyes, it is sin,” they said in a joint statement.
On Thursday, the British shipping company dismissed a quarter of its workforce with no notice via Zoom. They argued the business was "not viable in its current state" after a 100-million pound year-on-year loss.
Workers were told to leave the vessels immediately with reports of security guards being sent to the ships.
P&O’s decision has sparked widespread criticism with the government already announcing a review into whether the move was legal.
For Archbishop Justin and Bishop Rose the decision was “cynically timed for a moment when world attention is on Ukraine” and they believe it was “inhumane, treats human beings as a commodity with no basic value or dignity and is completely unethical”.
They have called on the secretary of state, Grant Shapps to prevent P&O operating “until proper consultation has been carried out”.
“Consultation will have to be done with independent oversight as all confidence in P&O management is gone. We call on the UK government to make urgent and forceful representations to the Government of Dubai, a historic and close ally of the UK.”
They concluded: “It is essential that if this move cannot be prevented legally that Dover receive extraordinary financial and development assistance”.
The Government has already said it is reviewing all contracts it has with P&O Ferries and its owner, DP World.