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P&O Ferries news LIVE – Travel chaos could last WEEKS as sailing suspended for 10 days after 800 staff suddenly sacked

P&O FERRIES are suspending sailings for the next seven to 10 days, as 800 were sacked ‘with immediate effect’.

The ferry company has now suspended sailings, but the decision to sack 800 staff with immediate effect has been branded “holly unacceptable” by parliamentary under-secretary for transport, Robert Courts.

The company defended the mass redundancies, saying it’s losing £100m a year. “In its current state, P&O Ferries is not a viable business,” said a spokesperson.

“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.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the treatment of workers was “disgusting”.

“It just makes my blood boil. It is a complete betrayal of the workforce. It’s just disgusting,” he told BBC Radio Humberside.

Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) general secretary Mick Lynch also said that the union is threatening legal action against the firm, calling yesterday’s move one of the “most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations”.

Read our P&O live blog below for the latest updates and information…

  • P&O worker slams the Dubai-owned firm

    RMT boss Mick Lynch branded the sackings “one of the most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations”.

    And one P&O worker slammed the Dubai-owned firm for “stabbing us in the back”.

    The dad of two, in his 20s, said of his video call firing: “I had to switch  off.

    “They claim the firm is running at a £100million loss  but DP World who run it from Dubai is thriving.

    “What they want is British seafarers gone as they see us as too expensive.

    “The new foreign workers are already on board. And I’ve got nothing against them. But clearly the company has been planning this behind our backs for a  long time. It’s not fair.

    “We should have been given notice. Not half an hour.”

  • Employees ‘fired via Zoom’

    P&O employees were ambushed yesterday morning via Zoom and reportedly given just “five minutes to get their stuff and get off the ship”.

    Security teams in balaclavas were then drafted in to remove P&O staff — some given just five minutes to gather gear from quarters.

    Defiant captain Eugene Favier refused to leave his Pride of Hull ferry in protest and barred cops and security from boarding.

    Other workers blocked roads near Hull and Dover as queues of lorries built up.

    Passengers were marched off ships, or stopped from boarding, leaving thousands stranded.

  • Huge queues at ports after P&O axes ferry routes

    HUGE queues snaked outside ports last night after P&O Ferries sensationally axed all routes for up to TEN days.

    The company was labelled “appalling” after it brutally axed 800 crew members over Zoom on Thursday.

    It said it was cancelling services for the “next few days” before confirming the wait could be as long as TEN while the company “locates new crews”.

    Bosses dramatically halted all services early on Thursday before the 11am firing bombshell.

    And ferry ports were later plunged into chaos as passengers, workers and lorry drivers had nowhere to go.

    At Dover, dozens of employees who lost their jobs stood on the road with banners and flags saying: “Stop the P&O jobs carve-up.”

    One lorry driver trying to enter the port began shouting and beeping at those in the road, before being told: “We’re not moving.”

  • Milica Cosic logging on this morning, and will bring you the latest news and updates.

  • Mass sacking slammed as ‘highly immoral’

    A mum whose husband and son have lost their jobs branded mass axing “highly immoral”.

    She told Kent Messenger: “When P&O suspended sailings this morning crews were waiting on the ships with no idea what was happening – even the captains didn’t know.

    “Then pictures emerged of three coach loads of foreign workers waiting at ports to take their jobs. They were already wearing P&O uniforms – yet the staff still hadn’t been told they were being let go.

    “They were told they had five minutes to get their stuff and get off the ships. These guys are week on week off workers who have called these ships home for half of the year every year.

    “They have personal effects in lockers which they can’t get to – clothes, bedding, photographs and in some cases financial documents which will be taken out and thrown.”

  • Nicola Sturgeon condemns P&O announcement as ‘appalling’

    Nicola Sturgeon has condemned ferry operator P&O’s decision to sack 800 seafarers and replace them with cheaper agency workers after claiming it is “not a viable business” in its current state.

    The firm, bought by Dubai-based logistics giant DP World in 2019, said it has suspended sailings “for the next few days”, including its route between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    On Twitter, the Scottish First Minister said: “I’m deeply concerned at P&O announcement – due to the importance to Scotland of Cairnryan/Larne route obviously, but also the impact on 100s of workers.

    “Fire & rehire is an appalling practice & offends the basic principle of fair work.”

  • MPs line up to condemn P&O

    Travellers have been warned they face days of disruption following P&O’s “appalling” decision to sack 800 seafarers, a move which left the Government “angry”.

    Transport minister Robert Courts led the condemnation of the decision by the ferry operator, bought by Dubai-based logistics firm DP World in 2019, to replace the workers with cheaper agency staff.

    Mr Courts told MPs that routes affected included Dover to Calais, Larne to Cairnryan, Dublin to Liverpool, and Hull to Rotterdam, but that “alternative provision” from other operators was being provided.

    Labour compared the treatment of workers to the “action of thugs”.

    Making an emergency statement to the House of Commons, Mr Courts said: “Reports of workers being given zero notice and escorted off their ships with immediate effect while being told cheaper alternatives would take up their roles shows the insensitive way in which P&O have approached this issue, a point I have made crystal clear to P&O’s management when I spoke to them earlier this afternoon.

    “I am extremely concerned and frankly angry at the way workers have been treated by P&O.”

    He added: “In taking this decision to make seafarers redundant, P&O have also today informed us they will be suspending services for approximately a week to 10 days while they locate new crew.”

  • Starmer says P&O treatment of workers ‘disgusting’

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the treatment of 800 seafarers sacked by P&O was “disgusting”.

    “It just makes my blood boil. It is a complete betrayal of the workforce. It’s just disgusting,” he told BBC Radio Humberside.

    “This is a company that had furlough during the Covid crisis. It is absolutely disgusting what they are trying to do. They mustn’t be allowed to get away with it.

    “I just wish the Government had done what we said and strengthened employment rights so they couldn’t do this kind of thing.

    “The Government said it was going to deal with this sort of situation. It hasn’t done it.”

  • P&O workers clashed with motorists in Dover

    P&O workers in Dover yesterday clashed with motorists after blocking a road close to the port in protest at being sacked.

    Dozens of employees who lost their jobs stood on the road with banners and flags saying “Stop the P&O jobs carve up”.

    A lorry driver trying to enter the port began shouting and beeping at those in the road, before being told “we’re not moving”.

    One of the protesters, who had worked for the company for decades, told the PA news agency: “I refuse to move from this road, all this service for nothing.

    “The police will have to take me away.”

  • How much compensation can I claim?

    According to ABTA, you are entitled to compensation of 25% of your ticket price for the part of the journey that was affected, and if your service is delayed for at least:

    • One hour for a journey of four hours duration
    • Two hours for a journey of four to eight hours duration
    • Three hours for a journey between eight and 24 hours duration
    • Six hours for a journey of more than 24 hours duration.

    If the delay exceeds double this, you’ll get 50% of the ticket price and you should get it within one month.

    “But don’t assume when it comes to extras,” Martyn added.

    “Speak to P&O to see if it’s willing to cover additional costs – don’t just book into a fancy hotel and hope it will cover it because of the chaos today, you might not get your money back for it.”

  • What does P&O stand for?

    P&O is the abbreviation for The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.

    It was founded in 1837 by London shipbroker Brodie McGhie, former Royal Navy clerk Arthur Anderson, and Dublin Shipowner Captain Richard Bourne.

    The company won contracts to transport mail via sea.

    This included a government contract to transport the precious written cargo between Falmouth, Vigo, Oporto, Lisbon, Cadiz and Gibraltar. 

    The first P&O ship was called the William Fawcett and was owned by Richard Bourne.

    It travelled on routes from London to Spain and Portugal in 1835.

  • Can I get compensation if my trip doesn’t go ahead?

    ABTA says your ferry operator should offer you accommodation free of charge if your ferry has been cancelled and you’re stuck for the night.

    You should be able to claim back the amount you’ve paid for accommodation, though this may be subject to a limit.

    Typically this is a maximum of £66 a night per passenger for a maximum of three nights.

    But the actual amount you can claim will depend on the specific situation, including how long you have had to wait among other factors.

  • P&O likely to suspend all services for 10 DAYS – minister

    Transport minister Robert Courts said passengers should expect disruption to ferry routes in coming days, with P&O likely to suspend all services for as long as 10 days.

    He told MPs: “In taking this decision to make seafarers redundant, P&O have also today informed us they will be suspending services for approximately a week to 10 days while they locate new crew.”

    He told MPs that routes affected included Dover to Calais, Larne to Cairnryan, Dublin to Liverpool, and Hull to Rotterdam, but that “alternative provision” from other operators was being provided.

    Mr Courts said: “Passengers will still be able to travel to and from the UK, including across the Channel, with freight coming in and out of the country.

    “I must warn travellers they should expect some disruption over the coming days.”

  • What routes do P&O Ferries use?

    Before suspending services and recalling its ships to port, P&O operated a wide range of ferry routes throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe.

    P&O Ferries usually operate on routes such as Cairnryan in Wales to Larne in Northern Ireland, as well as Hull to Rotterdam and Liverpool to Dublin.

    And, the Dover to Calais route is popular with holidaymakers and the freight industry.

  • Who are P&O?

    P&O Ferries, which transports passengers and freight, operates four routes: Dover to Calais; Hull to Rotterdam; Liverpool to Dublin; and Cairnryan, Scotland, to Larne, Northern Ireland.

    It has 2,200 employees remaining in the UK.

    DP World was criticised for paying a £270 million dividend to shareholders at the end of April 2020 while P&O Ferries cut around 1,100 jobs as demand for travel collapsed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    P&O began operating ferries in the 1960s.

    Cruise line P&O Cruises is unaffected by the developments as it is a separate business owned by Carnival UK.

  • Sturgeon tells P&O Ferries boss of ‘utter disgust’

    Nicola Sturgeon has told the boss of P&O Ferries of her “utter disgust” at the treatment of seafarers who have been sacked and replaced with cheaper agency workers.

    The ferry operator, which was bought by Dubai-based logistics giant DP World in 2019, cancelled sailings “for the next few days”, including on its route between Scotland and Northern Ireland, and sacked 800 of its staff.

    Just hours after the company announced the move, the Scottish First Minister said she had spoken with its chief executive and had “made clear my utter disgust at this appalling treatment of its workers”.

    She said on Twitter: “I made clear that @scotgov stands with these workers and will do everything possible to ensure fair treatment for them.”

    At ports across the UK, workers who had been fired were refusing to leave ships on Thursday, leading to security guards with handcuffs being deployed to remove them.

    The ferry operator insisted the decision to cut jobs was “very difficult but necessary” as it is “not a viable business” currently.

  • ‘All this service for nothing’

    One man, who has worked in ferry engine rooms since the 1980s, said: “I’m fuming, to be honest with you. I’ve known people who’ve been with the firm for years – this is no way to treat people.

    “It was just a short message this morning saying you’ve all lost a job, basically – all this service for nothing.

    “I’ve seen coach loads of agency crews waiting in the car park at Hyde services just waiting to come down – it’s as simple as that.

    “There’s going to be a protest here, one of the union guys just said if there’s no one working to come along and support.”

  • Unions were threatening legal action against P&O on Thursday after the ferry giant sacked 800 seafarers and replaced them with cheaper agency workers.

    The move sparked outrage from politicians and workers, many of whom refused to leave ships, leading to the incredible scene of security guards with handcuffs being deployed to remove them.

    The ferry operator, bought by Dubai-based logistics giant DP World in 2019, insisted the decision to cut jobs was “very difficult but necessary” as it was “not a viable business” in its current state.

    Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We are seeking urgent legal action and are again calling for the Government to take action to stop what is fast turning into one of the most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations.”

    In the Commons, Transport Minister Robert Courts said the company’s actions were “wholly unacceptable” – a point he said he made “crystal clear” when he spoke to the P&O management.

    “I am extremely concerned and frankly angry at the way workers have been treated by P&O,” he said.

  • Manager who told P&O workers they were redundant was involved in Royal Mail row

    The manager who told P&O workers by video call that they were being made redundant was involved in a dispute with the postal workers union in a previous job, it has emerged.

    Stephen Nee told seafarers on Thursday: “The company has made the decision that its vessels going forward will be primarily crewed by a third-party crew provider.

    “Therefore, I am sorry to inform you that this means your employment is terminated with immediate effect on the grounds of redundancy.”

    He worked at Royal Mail during a dispute in 2019 with the Communication Workers Union over jobs, pay and conditions.

  • Significant disruption over next few days, says P&O

    On Thursday, March 17, 2022, P&O announced via its website that there would be “significant disruption” over the next few days.

    The company maintained that those travelling on the Dover to Calais route should arrive at ports as planned where alternative transport could be arranged.

    However some travellers were still left stranded in Calais and Dover.

  • Starmer brands P&O’s treatment of fired workers ‘disgusting’

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the treatment of 800 seafarers sacked by P&O was “disgusting”.

    “It just makes my blood boil. It is a complete betrayal of the workforce. It’s just disgusting,” he told BBC Radio Humberside.

    “This is a company that had furlough during the Covid crisis. It is absolutely disgusting what they are trying to do. They mustn’t be allowed to get away with it.

    “I just wish the Government had done what we said and strengthened employment rights so they couldn’t do this kind of thing.

    “The Government said it was going to deal with this sort of situation. It hasn’t done it.”

  • Labour calls mass firing ‘scandalous’

    Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “This scandalous action shows sheer contempt for the workforce.

    “Unscrupulous employers cannot be given free rein to sack workers and replace them with agency staff.”

    P&O Ferries said in a statement: “In its current state, P&O Ferries is not a viable business.

    “We have made a £100 million 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.”

  • Dover MP says P&O ‘has put the economy at risk’

    The Conservative MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke, said P&O has put the economy at risk, while a transport minister said the company’s actions were “unacceptable”.

    She told the Commons: “The way in which P&O Ferries and DP World have acted is shabby, disgraceful and utterly unacceptable. They have mistreated 600 loyal workers in Dover, and in addition to this they have brought traffic disruption and put at risk the economy and the trade routes through it.”

    Transport minister Robert Courts said her constituents will be “anguished, hurt, distraught at the news that they have been given today”.

    He added: “She asks me do I agree that the way P&O have behaved is unacceptable. Yes, it’s unacceptable.”

  • Pride of Hull crew leave ship after standoff with P&O ends

    The crew of the Pride of Hull are leaving the ship after a standoff with P&O came to an end.

    RMT organiser for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Gaz Jackson said the crew were “absolutely devastated” and described P&O’s actions as “unacceptable” and “unforgivable”.

    He told reporters at King George Dock in Hull: “I got a phone call at 8am saying something was going to happen at P&O, I got on board and spoke to the captain and we said we’ve got to lift the gangway until we’ve got an agreement.

    “At 11am ratings and officers were informed there was going to be a pre-recorded Zoom meeting. After that two to three-minute call all the crew were made redundant.”

    Mr Jackson praised the captain for his “brave decision” to lift the gangway “for the safety of the crew”, saying security guards were “going to pull us off if we weren’t going to get off”. He said negotiations had come to an end when the company agreed to provide paperwork requested by the union.

    Mr Jackson said: “The crew are absolutely devastated. I’ve seen grown men crying on there because they don’t know where they’re going to go from today.”

    He said it is “very likely” the new crew “won’t be British seafarers”.

    Mr Jackson said the union would hold demonstrations at P&O ports and had a “legal injunction against the company”.

  • P&O likely to suspend all services for 10 DAYS – minister

    Transport minister Robert Courts said passengers should expect disruption to ferry routes in coming days, with P&O likely to suspend all services for as long as 10 days.

    He told MPs: “In taking this decision to make seafarers redundant, P&O have also today informed us they will be suspending services for approximately a week to 10 days while they locate new crew.”

    He told MPs that routes affected included Dover to Calais, Larne to Cairnryan, Dublin to Liverpool, and Hull to Rotterdam, but that “alternative provision” from other operators was being provided.

    Mr Courts said: “Passengers will still be able to travel to and from the UK, including across the Channel, with freight coming in and out of the country.

    “I must warn travellers they should expect some disruption over the coming days.”

https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8520628/po-ferries-travel-live-updates-news-why-what-happened/ P&O Ferries news LIVE – Travel chaos could last WEEKS as sailing suspended for 10 days after 800 staff suddenly sacked

Fry Electronics Team

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