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P&O Ferries announce plans to resume services after laying off 800 workers and replacing them with cheaper agency staff

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P&O Ferries has said it is preparing to resume sailings “from this weekend” on routes that have been suspended as nearly 800 seafarers have been made redundant.

The company announced plans to resume operations for four of its ships.

It has been blocked from operating all but one of its ships since it announced widespread layoffs on March 17.

Trips from Dublin to Liverpool have already resumed.

The company sparked outrage by replacing its crews with cheaper contract workers without notice.

A company spokesman said: “From this weekend P&O Ferries is preparing to resume service on a number of key routes.

“P&O has worked closely with regulators to ensure our ships are safe to sail.

“P&O looks forward to welcoming back vital services and we expect to have two of our ships ready to sail the Dover/Calais route by next week, subject to government approval, namely both the Pride of Kent as well as the Spirit of Britain between Dover/Calais.

“P&O also expects to be able to navigate both the European Causeway, which runs between Larne and Cairnryan, and the Pride of Hull, which offers services between Hull and Rotterdam.”

He added: “We thank our customers for their patience during this time and apologize to those customers whose trips have been canceled and disrupted.”

The announcement comes as a former P&O Ferries chef is reportedly suing the company for wrongful dismissal, racial discrimination and harassment.

The BBC reported that John Lansdown has launched a court action against the company and its director, demanding monetary compensation and exemplary damages of up to £76million.

P&O Ferries said in a statement from the channel that the job cuts were “categorically not based on the race or nationality of the staff involved”.

Mr Lansdown said the action was about the “bigger picture”.

“It’s not just about me. 799 of my seafaring family lost their livelihood, way of life and home for half a year,” he told the BBC.

Criminal and civil investigations have also been launched into P&O Ferries’ relocation.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on April 1 that the Insolvency Service had launched “formal criminal and civil enquiries”.

The Bankruptcy Service said: “Following its investigation, the Bankruptcy Service has launched a formal criminal and civil investigation into the circumstances of P&O Ferries’ recent layoffs.

“As this is an ongoing investigation, no further comments or information can be given at this time.”

P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite told a joint hearing of the House of Commons Business and Transport Committees that his company broke the law by failing to consult with unions before laying off workers.

https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/p-and-o-ferries-announces-plans-to-resume-sailings-after-sacking-800-workers-and-replacing-them-with-cheaper-agency-staff-41527328.html P&O Ferries announce plans to resume services after laying off 800 workers and replacing them with cheaper agency staff

Fry Electronics Team

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