P&O Ferries are suspending sailings for the next seven to 10 days, according to the parliamentary under-secretary for transport, Robert Courts, who called its decision to sack 800 staff with immediate effect “wholly unacceptable”.
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.”
Mr Courts said the company had told him it would halt sailings for seven to 10 days while it located new seafaring crew, adding: “I am extremely concerned and frankly angry at the way workers have been treated by P&O.”
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.
Meanwhile, the RMT 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 on for the latest news and developments.