LATEST: P&O Ferries cancels services between France and UK and fires 800 staff

P&O Ferries - the largest cross-Channel ferry company - has fired 800 staff, saying that the company is 'not viable in its current state'.

LATEST: P&O Ferries cancels services between France and UK and fires 800 staff

P&O ferries announced on Thursday morning that all of its sailings would be halted ahead of a “major announcement”.

The announcement came later on Thursday and was that 800 seafaring staff had been fired with immediate effect.

The company said that no services will operate “in the next few days” and advised people who had already booked crossings to use other services.

Passengers who have crossings booked on the Dover/Calais route are advised on the P&O website to turn up at the port as planned and head to the check-in for rival firm DFDS.

The company says: “We will arrange to get you away on an alternative carrier as soon as possible” – although it’s not clear whether this will incur an extra charge.

A statement from the company read: “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.

“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.”

The announcement refers to 800 British staff, with French press reporting that P&O employees in France were not affected by the job losses.

Like many transport firms, P&O has been hard-hit by the pandemic, and was forced to run greatly reduced services for large parts of 2020 and 2021.

Even once lockdowns were lifted, restrictive travel conditions imposed by both France and the UK have had a major impact on cross-Channel trips. 

P&O operates services between France and the UK, as well as Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands. 

We will update this story when more information becomes available.

Member comments

  1. This is a fantastic lesson in how not to do things…these strongarm tactics may still work in places like Dubai but have no place in modern UK or Europe…had there been a genuine need to reduce staffing that could have been done incrementally over a period of months and that would have avoided this disruption, bad PR and loss of confidence in this operator.

    I do suspect the fallout was calculated and there may be a deliberate move on the part of the parent company to sink P&O entirely, this being seeing as a quick way to do so…

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”