Social storm in cross-channel traffic. P&O Ferris, one of the two operators between Dover and Calais, has announced that it will lay off 800 British sailors out of a total of 3,000 employees. According to union sources who were outraged at the process, Colombians and temporary workers the company had already recruited would be replaced to reduce their salaries by 50%.
Employees working on the French side (approximately 230 indifferent and about 20 sailors, referred to as “La Voix du Nord”) will not be affected by this measure. The departure marks the second social project after Brexit and Kovid, following the layoffs of the company’s 1,100 employees in May 2020, as part of a plan to “make the company more efficient and sustainable”.
Trouble at the ports
The company took the initiative on Thursday morning, concerned about the obvious consequences of the announcement and facing the possibility of an employee lockout. By canceling departures and asking all ships and their passengers to return to the dock to unload trucks and private vehicles, “To facilitate this notification […] This will ensure the long-term viability of P&O ferries. This soon created a commotion and queue at related ports, including Calais, where rivals DFDS and Irish ferries could not absorb the extra demand without additional means.
Some customers and trucks were diverted to the Eurotonal terminal, a few kilometers away. There are also alternative accommodation arrangements. The ship’s owner’s 15 ships sailed not only through the Channel to the Irish Sea or to the ports of Benelux, but remained at shore for several days. “P&O ferries are not a lucrative business. We lost 100 100 million (approximately ദ 120 million) in one year, which was covered by our parent company, DP World, ”the Dubai-based port operator justified. “Our survival now depends on rapid and meaningful change,” she said.
Former British shipping giant
P&O Ferries, a small piece of the former British Empire shipping giant that originated in 1837, was acquired in 2006 by DP World, the world’s third largest port operator and headquartered in Dubai. Long before that, it had abandoned its container shipping operations, merged with Nedelloid, and then into the lap of the now-powerful Danish group Marsk. As for its cruise branch, it was sold to the Carnival Group.
Shaken by the unexpected announcement as health measures were eased between Great Britain and the continent, Transport Minister Grant Shops promised that his cabinet officials would “hold urgent discussions with P&O on the situation, especially with regard to their workers.”
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