“It was your last day of work today,” the astonished 800 P&O Ferries crew members were told. Temporary workers on the beach were ready to take over their jobs.
“Sail to port,” instructions for dozens of P&O ferries swayed somewhere between England and the mainland on Thursday morning. “Because there is an announcement coming from the company.”
The 800 crew members on the various ships had to gather in the hallway each time. After a long wait, a pre-recorded video was played at 11 am. The startling message was “Your last day at work was today.” The crew was then asked to leave the ship and make room for a new crew.
It was indicated in various places that the replacement crew was ready. In the Pride of Hull ship case, according to Labor MP Karl Turner, she was waiting on buses. These were cheap temporary workers who had to run Pride of Hull on the spot so that the ship could set its course back to Rotterdam. According to French media sources, Calais was about temporary Colombian workers who had to replace the British crew.
The British shipping union RMT reacted with fury and ordered crew members to remain on board in protest of the ships and their occupation. Because of this they could not sail. Then P&O Ferries announced that there would be no more sailings in the coming days. Immediately long traffic jams appeared on the access roads to Dover.
Livia Spira, president of the Federation of European Seafarers, said she was “terrified that something like this could happen in a developed country like the UK”. Unions demanded that politicians take steps. A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the decision and the way workers were informed was totally unacceptable.
Millions of grants
Since 2019, P&O Ferries has been owned by Dubai-based major shipping group DP World. They did not enjoy this acquisition much: last year, the ferry company incurred a loss of £100m. That is why drastic measures are taken. According to P&O Ferries, the layoffs were a difficult decision, but one that was inevitable in order to restore the company’s financial position and protect the jobs of the remaining 2,200 employees. The ferry company, which shipped about 10 million passengers a year before the Corona pandemic, saw a sharp drop in the number due to Corona and Britain’s exit from the European Union. In May 2020, it should have fired 1,100 employees.
According to the British newspaper, P&O Ferries will do just that Watchman 33 million pounds granted annually. The exciting detail is that parent company DP World made record profits in 2021 due to extremely high container rates
through the tunnel
Passengers and trucks stranded in Calais and Dover were advised to travel via the DFDS competitor or via the Eurotunnel. The question is whether there is sufficient capacity, as P&O is responsible for more than half of the crossings from England to the mainland. For example, there is only one departure per day between Rotterdam and Hull, which means that an alternative is not readily available.
If the boats have not sailed for a long time, then scenes such as the end of 2020, when huge traffic jams with trucks appeared because British companies were more stockpiled before Brexit.
At Transport & Logistiek Vlaanderen, no major problems are to be expected right away because the Flemish carriers mainly transit through the Channel Tunnel. The capacity of this connection can be increased to six trains per hour.
“Total coffee specialist. Hardcore reader. Incurable music scholar. Web guru. Freelance troublemaker. Problem solver. Travel trailblazer.”