P&O Ferries axes 800 jobs after suspending passenger sailings

By Luke Barras-hill |

P&O Ferries said it would make a ‘major announcement’ today.

P&O Ferries has made 800 workers redundant with immediate effect having announced earlier today it was suspending sailings.

The operator had insisted in media reports it was not heading into liquidation ahead of the expected ‘major company announcement’.

In a statement obtained by TRBusiness, a spokesperson for P&O Ferries said: “P&O Ferries plays a critical role in keeping trade flowing, supply chains moving, and connecting families and friends across the North and Irish seas and the English Channel. We have been at the heart of this service for years and we are committed to serving these vital routes. 

“However, in its current state, P&O Ferries is not a viable business. We have made a £100m loss year on year, which has been covered by our parent DP World. This is not sustainable. Our survival is dependent on making swift and significant changes now. Without these changes there is no future for P&O Ferries. 

“These circumstances have resulted in a very difficult but necessary decision, which was only taken after seriously considering all the available options. As part of the process we are starting today, we are providing 800 seafarers with immediate severance notices and will be compensating them for this lack of advance notice with enhanced compensation packages.

‘SECURING THE FUTURE VIABILITY OF THE BUSINESS’

“In making this tough decision, we are securing the future viability of our business which employs an additional 2,200 people and supports billions in trade in and out of the UK. And we are ensuring that we can continue serving our customers in a way that they have demanded from us for many years.”

It remains unclear at this stage what the implications are, if any, for P&O Ferries’ onboard retail operations.

Dufry, which has a long-term contract to operate retail concessions on P&O Ferries under the World Duty Free fascia, declined to comment when approached by TRBusiness and P&O Ferries were not available for further comment.

In a notice seen by TRBusiness this morning, the operator confirmed that all its vessels had been asked to discharge their passengers and cargo and ‘standby for further instructions’.

P&O Ferries said all ports are expected to experience ‘serious disruption today’ and asked its customers to bear with the company until the ‘all-colleague announcement’ was made.

Source: P&O Ferries/Twitter.

“We will be making a major company announcement today which, with the support of our shareholder DP World, will secure the long-term viability of P&O Ferries,” read the notice.

The firm announced more than 1,000 job cuts in 2020 on key routes from Dover and Hull to the continent.

P&O Ferries operates routes to the likes of Dover to Calais, Liverpool to Dublin, and Carinryan in Dumfries and Galloway (Scotland) to Larne in County Anterim (Northern Ireland).

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