A UK ferry company used a video message to fire staff and then sent security guards to take them off ships, reports say
A UK ferry company used a video message to fire staff and then sent security guards to take them off ships, reports say
"Your employment is terminated with immediate effect on the grounds of redundancy," P&O staff were told. "Your final day of employment is today."
Former P&O staff and RMT members block the road leading to the Port of Dover as P&O Ferries suspended sailings and handed 800 seafarers immediate severance notices.
Former P&O staff and RMT members block the road leading to the Port of Dover as P&O Ferries suspended sailings and handed 800 seafarers immediate severance notices
  • UK shipping company P&O Ferries used a video message to notify staff that 800 seafarers were losing their jobs, the BBC reported.
  • "Your final day of employment is today," staff were told in the video.
  • P&O denied reports that security guards wearing balaclavas and carrying handcuffs were removing crew from boats.

UK shipping company P&O Ferries used a video message to notify staff that 800 seafarers were being immediately fired on Thursday, outlets including the BBC reported.

P&O's vessels "going forward will be primarily crewed by a third-party crew provider," a P&O staff member said in a video shared by the BBC.

"Therefore I am sorry to inform you that this means your employment is terminated with immediate effect on the grounds of redundancy," he said. "Your final day of employment is today."

The company announced on Thursday that it was laying off 800 staff. It would provide the affected workers with enhanced compensation packages "for this lack of advance notice," P&O said.

James Sloth, who has worked for P&O the company in Dover for around four years, told the BBC that it was a "complete surprise" and that staff had only received a "three-minute pre-recorded message saying we are out of a job. Nothing else."

P&O told Insider: "All affected crew who worked today were notified face-to-face and in-person, on board their vessels. For crew who were rostered off, P&O Ferries made all efforts to notify them personally: Virtual meetings were held, they are each also individually being telephoned, plus email and SMS notifications were sent before dismissal letters and severance terms were shared via courier and email."

"For any crew members we did not reach personally despite this cascade of steps, regretfully the news of their dismissal must have come as a shock and we apologise for this," the company said.

The Rail, Maritime, and Transport Union (RMT) has told members to remain onboard ships. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, Labour member of parliament, Diana Johnson, said that RMT had told her that DP Global had hired security workers in balaclava who were attempting to remove crew from ships.

"We are receiving reports that security guards at Dover are seeking to board ships with handcuffs to remove crew so they can be replaced with cheaper labour," RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said in a statement.

P&O denied the claims.

"The teams escorting the seafarers off our vessels have been totally professional in handling this difficult task with all appropriate sensitivity," it told Insider.

"Contrary to rumours, none of our people have been wearing balaclavas nor directed to use handcuffs nor force," the company said. "Instead, they have remained professional, sympathetic and calm in a challenging situation for everyone, trying to ensure the safety of all the people on board."

Karl Turner, the member of parliament for East Hull, shared a photo on Twitter which he said showed "new foreign crew waiting to board the Pride of Hull," a vessel owned by P&O.

Keith Davis, a contractor fixing kitchen equipment on the Pride of Hull, told the BBC that he was stuck on the vessel with eight other contractors because the captain had lifted the gangway.

"We're being held against our will, I'm not trying to be dramatic, but we can't get off the ship," he told the broadcaster.

P&O's says its business isn't currently 'viable'

P&O said it was suspending sailings "for the next few days."

It attributed the layoffs to continued losses at the company.

"In its current state, P&O Ferries is not a viable business," the company told Insider. It said that it had made a £100 million ($131 million) loss year-on-year, which had been covered by its parent company DP World.

"This is not sustainable," P&O said. "Our survival is dependent on making swift and significant changes now. Without these changes there is no future for P&O Ferries."

"These circumstances have resulted in a very difficult but necessary decision, which was only taken after seriously considering all the available options," it added.

P&O says on its website that it has almost 4,000 members of staff and operates more than 30,000 sailings a year.

Do you work for P&O? Got a story? Contact this reporter at gdean@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider
Website: https://www.insider.com/

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