P&O ferries have sacked 800 workers over a pre-recorded zoom call and cancelled sailings for the next few days.
The company, which operates routes from Liverpool to Dublin and Cairnryan to Larne, said that it had been a "tough decision" but that it had been forced to do so to secure P&O’s long-term future:
"In its current state, P&O Ferries is not a viable business,” it said in a statement.
“We have made a £100m loss year on year, which has been covered by our parent DP World. This is not sustainable. Without these changes there is no future for P&O Ferries."
The company also tweeted:
“Regretfully, P&O Ferries services are unable to run for the next few hours. Our port teams will guide you and travel will be arranged via an alternative operator. We apologise for the inconvenience this will have on your journey plans.”
WATCH: The moment @POferriesupdate informed their staff that their employment would be terminated with immediate effect.
❌ No consultation with Unions ❌#PandOBetrayal #SackedandAttacked pic.twitter.com/wPBygOp4Qy
— Nautilus International (@nautilusint) March 17, 2022
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers said that P&O intended to replace the crew with foreign agency workers and that they had instructed all union members not to leave their vessels.
"We are digging in for the long-haul. We are determined to fight," a spokesperson for the union said.
Usually, P&O carries some 10 million passengers annually. However, the pandemic has seen the number of customers travelling internationally slump and 1,110 members of staff lost their jobs after the British Government refused its request for a £150 million bailout.
Main image: A P&O worker closes the gate on the European Causeway ferry from Scotland in the port of Larne, Northern Ireland, 02-02-2021. Picture by: Peter Morrison/AP/Press Association Images.