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P&O boss reveals his salary while he’s grilled by MPs over making 800 staff redundant

He also confirmed that the company’s new agency workers are paid just £5.50 an hour

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BBC News & Roel Hemkes / Wikimedia Commons

P&O Ferries boss Peter Hebblethwaite publicly revealed his salary as he admitted the company broke the law when sacking its 800 crew-members.

Speaking before a committee of MPs yesterday, the chief executive confirmed his salary is nine times that of the company’s average seafarer, and that P&O Ferries were offering agency workers replacing sacked staff an hourly rate below UK minimum wage.

Hebblethwaite revealed that he is paid a basic salary of £325,000 a year and, in addition, qualifies for two bonus schemes.

He said the average sacked seafarer earned £36,000 a year and will get £46,500 in compensation.

MPs were told the company is paying its new agency recruits an average hourly rate of pay £5.50, plus pension contributions.

But Hebblethwaite admitted the lowest hourly rate would actually be ‘around £5.15,’ telling MPs: “The average rate is from about £5.50 to about £6, depending on exchange rate.”

When asked whether he could live on £5.50 an hour, Hebblethwaite did not answer.

Read More: Calls for P&O Ferries to pay back all their £10m furlough payments

Hebblethwaite also told MPs there was ‘absolutely no doubt’ P&O was required to consult with trade unions, but it chose not to.

He said: “I completely throw our hands up, my hands up, that we did choose not to consult. We did not believe there was any other way to do this to compensate people in full.

“We assessed that given the fundamental nature of change, no union could accept it and therefore we chose not to consult because a consultation process would have been a sham.

“We didn’t want to put anybody through that. We are compensating people in full and up-front for that decision.”

The ferry operator, which was bought by Dubai-based logistics giant DP World in 2019, sparked outrage last week when it told its 800-strong workforce that their jobs had been terminated with immediate effect in a virtual Zoom meeting.

In its statement, P&O cited significant year-on-year losses and taking decisions to ensure its ‘survival’ as an explanation to its controversial decision.

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Strictly’s Amy Dowden supported by co-stars as she begins cancer treatment

She shared her health update on social media

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@amy_dowden / Instagram

Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has received support from her co-stars as she reveals she has started treatment for cancer.

The professional dancer, 32, shared a picture from her hospital bed as she gave a thumbs up to the camera and said she is ‘ready for this fight’.

The star announced she had been diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer just last month, after finding a lump in her breast the day before her honeymoon with Ben Jones.

She booked an appointment with her GP when she returned and was sent for a biopsy and MRI scan.

@amy_dowden / Instagram

Amy, from Caerphilly, South Wales, said that although she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to return to the hit BBC One show, she is ‘determined to get back on that dancefloor’.

Ahead of her treatment yesterday (June 7th), she posted the photo of herself as she shared with her 371,000 followers that she is starting ‘step one to beating cancer’. Amy has been sharing her journey in a bid to help others and raise more awareness.

In a caption alongside the picture she told fans: “Step one to beating cancer! Rrrrrrready for this fight and more determined than ever to get back on the dance floor.”

@amy_dowden / Instagram

Amy’s co-stars and followers quickly took to the post to share their support for her including Gorka Marquez who wrote: “You got this,” whilst Kevin Clifton said: “Love u sis.”

Karen Hauer, also commented: “Love you. You’ve got this,” and Vito Coppola added: “Come on @amy_dowden You are Strong.” 

Last month, the dancer, who joined Strictly in 2017, said in an exclusive interview with Hello!: “You just don’t ever think it’s going to happen to you. I hadn’t thought it was possible to get breast cancer at my age. 

“My mum has had breast cancer, but she had it at a later age, in her 50s.”

@amy_dowden / Instagram

She added: “My doctor explained to me that there are three grades, and three is the most aggressive, but they feel like they’ve caught mine early and to not be too alarmed because grade 3 would be expected in somebody of my age.”

Amy said she received heartfelt support from friends Giovanna and Tom Fletcher when she told them the news, saying they were ‘central’ in her decision to tell her story in a bid to help others.

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First Dates’ Merlin Griffiths gets ‘all clear’ after one-year bowel cancer scan

Wonderful news!

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Channel 4 & @merlinfdc4 / Instagram

First Dates star Merlin Griffiths is grateful after receiving an ‘all clear’ in his final one-year bowel cancer scan.

The TV personality shared his health update in a post on social media where he revealed he received the good news in an email following a recent CT scan he had.

In September 2021, the celebrity bartender — who serves up drinks to nervous hopefuls as they wait for their dates to arrive — shared that he had been diagnosed with cancer.

He has since had to undergo gruelling treatment for a 4.5cm tumour which was detected in his bowel. Griffiths thanked the NHS for the ‘life-saving’ surgery he underwent.

@merlinfdc4 / Instagram

The much-loved barman posted an image of the email he received yesterday (June 7th) containing the good news on his Instagram, which read: “Hi Merlin, Hope you are well.

“Your CT scan has just come through. All looks good, there are no signs of any reocurrence. “Hope this is reassuring.”

In a caption alongside it, he wrote:Final Year 1 scan results are in, and it’s ALL CLEAR for now. Nice. Thank you #NHS #bowelcancerawareness.”

@merlinfdc4 / Instagram

Griffiths’ followers all jumped in to express their love and support for him. Many were also sharing that they too were either battling cancer or had survived the disease, and that his posts helped them to not feel alone in their journeys.

One person also commented to share their good news, typing: “Amazing news! I had my 2 year scan results at the weekend! Like you, all clear! Always such a relief! #scanxiety is real!”

Another said: “Fab news Merlin! I have my scan tomorrow, praying for good results too.” And a third wrote: “Brilliant news been following your story such fab reassurance.”

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Arctic Monkeys spotted boozing in Manchester ‘Spoons

Who could say no to a cheap pint?!

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JD Wetherspoons & @ArcticMonkeysJP / Twitter

Music fans were left stunned as they spotted the Arctic Monkeys enjoying a standard pint in a Manchester Wetherspoons.

We all knew they were in town after the band performed live over the weekend at Emirates’ Old Trafford Cricket Ground, but no one thought they’d show up at a local Wetherspoons pub.

Perhaps we all expected them to hang out in an exclusive upmarket bar or an uber trendy but pricey craft ale pub, just definitely not a city centre Spoons — of all the classy joints they could have gone to!

@ArcticMonkeysJP / Twitter

The rock stars were seen drinking, as they stood with pints in hand at The Moon Under Water on Deansgate — I guess it’s hard to turn down a cheap pint!

Fans stopped and asked to take pictures with bassist Nick O’Malley and guitarist Jamie Cook, as well as touring band member Tom Rowley, at the pub.

One person wrote: “You’re not telling me Arctic Monkeys are having a booze in the Moon Under The Water on Deansgate hahahaha.” A second typed: “Imagine bumping into some of the monkeys in a Wetherspoons hahaha.”

Someone else pointed out: “Biggest band in the country and they’re drinking carling in spoons.” Some fans also made light of the band, comparing them to the iconic ‘four lads in jeans’ meme.

And, that’s not the only weird celebrity sighting around Manchester this week.

P!NK was spotted swinging around at Total Ninja indoor park in Trafford Park for her daughter Willow’s 12th birthday party.

Jason Persse / Wikimedia

The American singer-songwriter is set to perform two huge shows at the University of Bolton stadium.

And Chris Martin from Coldplay was spotted catching a train from Manchester to Cardiff after wowing crowds at epic sold-out shows at the Etihad Stadium.

Members of the Arctic Monkeys were pictured during the gloriously sunny weekend in Manchester, where they’d performed two gigs in Old Trafford.

The Sheffield band will perform later this week for more packed-out crowds in their hometown, at Hillsborough Park.

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