The British-based ferry operator P&O Ferries surprisingly decided to sack 800 workers without any notice on Thursday. The sudden sacking has caused many people to think that it was P&O Cruises, but the cruise line is an entirely different company.
Sudden Sacking of P&O Workers
On Thursday, March 17, P&O Ferries suddenly sacked 800 workers. The staff was informed it “was their final day of employment” in a video message from the ferry operator. The ferry line has said that the business is not viable and had to make a difficult decision.
The situation with of the sudden sacking was elevated when security personnel arrived at The Port of Dover to remove the sacked workers from the ferries.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) General Secretary Mick Lynch said, “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.”
“We are seeking urgent legal action and are again calling for the government to take action to stop what is fast turning into one of the most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations. If this happens at P&O it can happen anywhere and we are calling for mass trade union and wider public mobilisation and protest against the company.”
Due to the developing situation with P&O Ferries, the line has been unable to operate services. It has resulted in disruption to travel plans for many and a lot of backlash. According to reports, P&O is planning to replace the 800 fired workers with cheaper workers from other countries.
Following the situation, P&O Ferries stated, “Regretfully, P&O Ferries services are unable to run for the next few hours. Our Port Teams will guide you and travel will be arranged via an alternative operator. We apologise for the inconvenience this will have on your journey plans.”
P&O Cruises Sets it Straight
The UK’s largest cruise line has also been brought into the backlash as it carries the same name as the ferry operator. P&O Cruises has been forced to issue a statement informing people that it is not related to P&O Ferries and is owned by a different parent company.
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P&O Cruises stated, “As Britain’s favourite cruise line, your loyalty, advocacy and support has always meant the world to us. P&O Cruises has been part of Carnival Corporation & plc for over 20 years and has no connection to P&O Ferries. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by yesterday’s news. However, please be assured it’s business as usual on our cruises and our crew look forward to welcoming you on board soon.”
Across social media, many people angry with the workers being sacked by P&O Ferries voiced their anger incorrectly at P&O Cruises. It doesn’t come as a surprise as they share the same name. P&O Cruises and Ferries was once part of the same company, but in 2000, P&O Cruises was spun off and became its own company, which then became part of P&O Princess Cruises.
- P&O Cruises: Owned by Carnival Corporation & PLC
- P&O Ferries: Owned by DP World
In 2004 Carnival Corporation then purchased P&O Princess Cruises to form Carnival Corporation & PLC. To this day, P&O Cruises is owned by Carnival and among its nine cruise brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, and P&O Australia.
P&O Ferries and P&O Cruises currently have no connection whatsoever. P&O Ferries was purchased by Dubai-based DP World in 2006 and has remained part of the company ever since.