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'Inhumane and unethical,' Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Dover condemn P&O sackings

by Kelly Valencia

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.

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