Politics

P&O Ferries sacks 800 sailors and halts crossings for days


UK passenger and freight transport routes face days of disruption after P&O Ferries ordered its ships again to port in an effort to sack 800 sailors.

In a video message performed to crew, the corporate mentioned it might change the dismissed employees with cheaper company employees.

The corporate, which is owned by Dubai-based DP World, mentioned Britain’s best-known ferry operator was not “a viable business” in its present state and that it had made the “very difficult but necessary decision” to axe the roles.

As P&O despatched in safety employees to clear crew from their ships, the corporate was severely criticised by politicians and unions.

“The way [the crew] have been treated today is wholly unacceptable,” Robert Courts, transport minister, informed MPs.

Karl Turner, Labour MP for East Hull, mentioned P&O was engaged in “predatory capitalism of the most grotesque sort”, whereas Nautilus, the seafarers’ commerce union, mentioned there had been no session or discover given to employees, and that P&O’s actions have been “nothing short of scandalous”.

P&O mentioned that the 800 seafarers can be compensated for the brief discover for job losses, with out giving additional particulars.

Cyprus-based Columbia Shipmanagement, one of many world’s largest ship managers, confirmed that it was among the many companies offering the alternative crew.

After initially forecasting delays of some hours, P&O then admitted it might not be capable to run any ferries “for the next few days”, plunging busy transport routes into uncertainty.

Courts mentioned he anticipated disruption for per week to 10 days whereas P&O educated new crew.

Rival ferry operator DFDS has stepped in and was offering different providers for P&O passengers with tickets, he added.

P&O operates on the passenger and freight Dover to Calais route, in addition to providers between the British mainland and Eire, Northern Eire and the Netherlands.

The stoppage would trigger a “massive problem” for British provide chains as a result of the corporate is answerable for a couple of third of the cross-channel ferry market with France, mentioned Philip Edge, chief government of Edge Worldwide Logistics, a freight brokerage.

“It’s the equivalent of taking Maersk and another carrier out of the global container market but for the France to UK trade,” he mentioned.

Contemporary meals reminiscent of croissants, brioches and cheeses that he imports have been vulnerable to failing to make it to grocery store cabinets. The stream of products to Eire would even be disrupted, he added.

John Manners-Bell, chief government of Transport Intelligence, a consultancy, mentioned the arrival of components wanted by producers was additionally in danger.

Pointing to “long-planned contingency” preparations for disruption on the Dover to Calais route, Courts mentioned the federal government’s modelling “suggests we have sufficient capacity to handle the loss of these ferries”.

DP World, a container and logistics group, purchased P&O Ferries for £322mn in 2019. It fired 1,100 employees early in 2020 because the pandemic struck. P&O reported income of £138mn for 2020, down from £145mn in 2019, in keeping with its newest accounts at Corporations Home.

“We have made a £100mn loss year on year, which has been covered by our parent DP World,” P&O mentioned. “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.”

DP World itself final week reported report outcomes for 2021, with ebitda rising 15 per cent to $3.8bn. 

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