Freight News, Sea

P&O Ferries to lay off a quarter of its workforce

[ May 11, 2020   //   ]

P&O Ferries is planning to make 1,100 staff – a quarter of its workforce – permanently redundant, following a sharp fall in its freight carryings and a near-collapse in its passenger business during the Covid-19 crisis.

The ferry operator, which is owned by the Sovereign State of Dubai, had been in talks with the government to secure a £150m rescue deal from the UK Government.

The announcement drew sharp criticism from Dover MP Natalie Elphicke, who said that P&O Ferries had received millions of pounds of UK government money in furlough and freight support payments. Around 1,400 staff have already been furloughed.

P&O also benefitedfrom a tripartite pledge with France and Ireland to maintain critical freight ferry routes during the Covid-19 crisis, signed on 24 April.

The operator currently has taken seven of its vessels out of service. P&O Ferries is the main ferry operator on the Dover-Calais route, and has also recently introduced a new Calais-Tilbury route. It also has a freight service between Liverpool and Dublin, North Sea passenger and freight services between Hull, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam and freight and passenger services between Larne and Cairnryan.