P&O Ferries Lays Off 800 Crew Members
Caught between the choice of letting go of approximately 800 crew members and closing down the company altogether, P&O Ferries chose not to conduct prolonged consultations with the aforementioned employees and relieved them of their duties with immediate effect.
The decision was taken after the company calculated that a 3-month or longer consultations period would cost P&O a further (unaffordable) $395 million.
P&O's Chief Executive, Peter Hebblewaith in a letter is reported to have said that DP World-owned P&O Ferries simply would have not survived without changing its crewing arrangements.
At around $46 million in crewing expenses for 2021 P&O spends is almost 50% more than its competitors that used agencies for its crewing requirements.
To remain competitive and retain its 15% share of UK trade P&O Ferries had little choice but to lay of a portion of its employees.
With no guarantees of recovery in the larger market the company could not afford to have a consultation process costing 100s of millions of dollars on top of losses amounting to almost $120 million a year.
The laid off staff had been informed in-person on vessels wherever possible and via live online meetings for rostered personnel on shore. However, the company said about 140 people did not attend the online meeting apologised for the consequent shock and misunderstandings.
DP World has so far invested almost $700 million into the ferry business in the UK.