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Hazards, number 160, 2022
A TOTAL DISGRACE: UK P&O chief tops the bad bosses global league of shame
The UK’s reputation as an increasingly unhealthy and insecure place to work has hit a new low, with a British business leader voted the ‘World’s Worst Boss’.


P&O chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite earned the world’s worst boss crown for 2022 in a global poll, after illegally firing almost 800 UK workers in a pre-recorded Zoom call. His award was announced at the November 2022 World Congress of the global union confederation ITUC in Melbourne, Australia.

Hebblethwaite beat internationally notorious safety and workers’ rights abusers Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Alan Joyce of the Australian airline Qantas into second and third place.

The P&O CEO, who is paid £325,000 a year before bonuses, was castigated by MPs for admitting to a parliamentary hearing he knew the action was illegal but proceeded anyway – and even said he’d do it again. His bad behaviour was rewarded by the company, with promotion to another directorship, despite the unlawful sackings and what UK seafarers’ union RMT described as ‘countless breaches of safety’ on the P&O fleet.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Gangster capitalists should not be rewarded for their appalling employment practices; they should be punished with the full force of law.”

Announcing the worst boss winners, outgoing ITUC general secretary, Sharan Burrow, said: “The global pandemic showed us the greatest act of human solidarity the world has ever seen as workers kept the world moving. It also showed us the greatest acts of corporate greed as unscrupulous CEOs profited from the pandemic, tore up contracts with workers and exposed the deficits of corporate regulation.

“The 10 richest men in the world doubled their fortunes during the pandemic, and the world’s 10 largest corporations declared combined profits of some US$ 360 billion in 2021.

“Working people and their unions are demanding a new social contract between governments, workers and business with jobs, wages, rights, equality, inclusion, and social protection. Let’s clean up the bad bosses of the world and stop these corporate predators in their tracks.

“With new national and international legislation, we will hold companies to account. And unions will support the ILO adopting a new Convention to address standards and governance gaps in global supply chains.”

Stephen Cotton, general secretary of the global transport union federation ITF, said: “First, Hebblethwaite became Britain’s most hated boss when he illegally sacked 786 seafarers… His disgrace has reached international heights now that he has been voted the Worst Boss in the World.

“CEO’s in the transport industry have been put on notice – if you fail to uphold workers’ rights and provide workers with decent jobs, safe working conditions, respect and dignity, the global union movement will be there to hold you to account.

“We will do this through national and international laws, using the power of worker representatives on pension funds to uphold human and labour rights principles and by organising transport workers to demand change.”



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The UK’s reputation as an increasing unhealthy and insecure place to work has hit a new low, with a British business leader voted the ‘World’s Worst Boss’.

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)


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