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P&O Ferries confirm 800 staff have been made redundant after firm made £100m loss

P&O Ferries has confirmed that 800 workers are to be made redundant, saying the business is not “viable” in its current state.

It is understood the company is now set to use agency staff to sail their ships.

A spokesperson for P&O Ferries said that 800 workers have been served with severance notices after the company confirmed in a statement that it made a £100m loss year on year.

They said that “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,” said the company.

"Our survival is dependent on making swift and significant changes now. Without these changes there is no future for P&O Ferries.

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Security & Severance Teams Board the P&O Causeway in Larne Harbour today. As news breaks that the entire Crew of Officers are getting laid off with immediate effect. Credit: Pacemaker

Security & Severance Teams Board the P&O Causeway in Larne Harbour today. As news breaks that the entire Crew of Officers are getting laid off with immediate effect. Credit: Pacemaker

Security & Severance Teams Board the P&O Causeway in Larne Harbour today. As news breaks that the entire Crew of Officers are getting laid off with immediate effect. Credit: Pacemaker

“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.”

Pictures show a security and severance team have boarded the P&O Causeway in Larne Harbour on Thursday afternoon. 

On Thursday morning, the company announced it was halting sailings ahead of the major announcement. 

When approached for comment before confirmation of redundancy at the firm, a spokesperson for P&O Ferries rubbished claims that the company had gone into liquidation and confirmed that ships had been recalled “in preparation for a company announcement”.

“P&O Ferries is not going into liquidation,” the statement read.  “We have asked all ships to come alongside, in preparation for a company announcement. Until then, services from P&O will not be running and we are advising travellers of alternative arrangements.”

Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson said more clarity needs made on the decision to halt sailings.

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P&O have cancelled all routes on Thursday morning due to an upcoming company announcement.

P&O have cancelled all routes on Thursday morning due to an upcoming company announcement.

P&O have cancelled all routes on Thursday morning due to an upcoming company announcement.

“My first thought is with the workers who have been informed by P&O they are no longer employed and I hope they get the support needed at this difficult time,” he said. 

“I am deeply disappointed in how P&O have handled this entire episode, showing underhanded behaviour which is not acceptable at best and draconian measures to remove staff at worst. There appears to have been no consultation done with staff or unions over this move.

“Given P&O owns Larne Harbour, urgent questions now need asked as to the potentially vast impact locally. I am calling on the Department for the Economy to engage immediately with P&O over the future of the harbour and any potential ramifications for it.”

UUP’s East Antrim MLA John Stewart has urged the Economy Minister to get directly involved following the suspension of ferry services to and from Larne and elsewhere by P&O ferries.

“With the Port of Larne being owned by P&O through its Dubai-based parent company, and with the only ferry services currently operating from Larne being P&O Ferries, we are in a very uncertain and precarious situation indeed,” Mr Stewart said.

“There has been an obvious decline in services and routes at the port of Larne for many years, but the short crossing to Cairnyran has always been busy and is a strategically important freight link to Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“Given this, the Economy Minister needs to get directly involved right now.”

TUV Assembly candidate Norman Boyd described Thursday’s events as a “scandalous betrayal of British workers”.

“Everything about this this shameful. Neither staff nor customers had any notice of what was taking place with people hearing that something was afoot by way of the media rather than any announcement by the company,” he said.

“There is an urgent need for the government, at national level, to put in place legislation which prevents staff being treated in such a shabby fashion”.


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