P&O Ferries, a UK shipping company, used a recorded video message to inform the staff about the termination of 800 seafarers. The company announced on Thursday that 800 seafarers would be laid off with immediate effect on the grounds of redundancy.
According to the statement given by a P&O staff member, further operations will be taken up by a third-party crew provider. In addition, the company is responsible for providing the affected workers with enhanced compensation packages as there was a lack of advance notice.
On being interviewed, James Sloth, a team member who has worked for P&O in Dover for around four years, expressed that this news came as a complete shock as a massive chunk of staff was laid off over a three-minute pre-recorded video message bluntly saying that they are out of the job and this is the last day for them at work.
P&O gave out a statement informing how the affected crew who worked on Thursday were notified in-person onboard. The listed staff who were off duty were notified personally through virtual meetings and telephonic conversations. Also, they had emailed and messaged before couriering dismissal letters and severance terms.
The company is apologetic for this decision. Although the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has asked the crew to stay onboard.
Labour member of parliament Diana Johnson said that RMT had told her that P&O’s parent company DP World had hired security workers in full covered uniforms to attempt to remove the crew from the ship. The reports were received that the security guards at Dover are roaming on the vessel with handcuffs to remove crew to replace them with cheaper labour.
P&O denying the claim has said that the team escorting the crew has been professionally handling the difficult task with appropriate sensitivity. They also informed that the group had not been commanded to use handcuffs or force, and they are sympathetically taking the challenging situation with ensured safety onboard.
P&O, in its statement, declared that the business situation currently is not viable and is suspending sailing for the next few days. The company has accounted for £100 million loss each year, covered by DP World. It is not a sustainable situation, and that survival is only dependent on making notable changes; otherwise, the company has no future. The decision of removal of the crew has been a tough one and is only taken after severe considerations of available options.