Mick Lynch has slammed P&O Ferries – the company that sacked almost 800 workers – after the firm picked up a gong at the British Travel Awards.
The RMT boss insisted that the organisation “should not be operating as a business” after it was named as the best company for Short Sea/Mini Cruise at the British Travel Awards.
Nearly 800 seafarers were fired by P&O Ferries in March this year before being replaced with cheaper agency workers.
Many of the workers were told they would be losing their jobs via a video call.
The move sparked protests at ports, with company bosses also hauled before committees at Westminster and Holyrood to answer questions on the decision.
In August, the Insolvency Service determined that P&O Ferries would not face criminal proceedings over its actions.
Having received the award on Friday, P&O Ferries tweeted: “We are absolutely delighted to have won Best Company for Short Sea/Mini Cruise at the British Travel Awards!
“Thank you to everyone who voted for us, we are very grateful.”
Companies put themselves forward to be entered into a specific award category.
RMT general secretary Lynch criticised the company, suggesting that bosses should be “handed jail sentences” for what they did to workers.
“It is beyond belief that a company that unlawfully sacked 800 workers and has employed cheap agency labour to maximise profits is winning travel awards,” he said.
“The treatment of UK seafarers by P&O Ferries and their DP World owners was one of the worst acts of industrial vandalism ever seen in the industry.
“They should not be operating as a business in Britain and rather than receiving awards, P&O bosses should be handed jail sentences for what they did to our members.”
A spokesman for the British Travel Awards said the award process is based on consumer votes,
“I can’t comment on an individual company’s policies,” they said.
“Normally P&O Ferries will win the best ferry operator and they lost out this year on that, so that is a reflection of how the consumers feel, but on the short sea mini cruises they did obviously win the award.
“It is all based on consumer votes. We are just a collector of the votes and publish the results.”