P&O Ferries chaos: More cancellations as customers told to find alternatives ‘themselves’

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P&O Ferries sacked 800 staff on Thursday triggering mass chaos at UK ports. The sudden move shocked employees and caused widespread condemnation.

P&O Ferries initially told customers that services may not run for the “next few days” following the sacking.

Chaos looks set to continue this week as the company announced more cancellations on key routes.

It tweeted: “P&O Ferries services are unable to run for the next few days. We are advising travellers of alternative arrangements.”

It said it would update the Twitter account ‘POferriesupdate’ with information every three hours.

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P&O Ferries said routes between Dover and Calais, Hull and Rotterdam and Larne and Cairnryan were cancelled on March 21.

For Dover to Calais customers, the company tweeted: “Please arrive as booked, we will get you away on an alternative carrier as soon as possible.

“Once at the port please head to the DFDS check-in booths. We apologise for the inconvenience this may have on your journey plans.”

Hull to Rotterdam customers were advised not to travel if their journey was not essential.

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The company tweeted: “We apologise for the inconvenience and for the late notice. Those with essential travel needs will be guided by our port teams.”

Larne to Cairnryan customers were told: “Services remain suspended. It is no longer possible for us to arrange travel via an alternative operator on this route.

“For essential travel, customers are advised to seek alternatives themselves.”

It added that customers travelling on the route between Liverpool and Dublin would be contacted by port teams if they were affected.

One customer told The Guardian that they thought the company’s actions were “totally obscene”.

Peter Theakston said: “It makes you ashamed to be British that the Government lets the company do this.”

Travel expert, Simon Calder tweeted the company has “demonstrated how to render a reasonably well-regarded brand toxic.”

The company said it would refund fares if it couldn’t arrange a suitable alternative ferry crossing.

The UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, told the BBC that the sackings were “appalling” in the way they treated workers.

P&O Ferries said in a statement: “We took this difficult decision as a last resort and only after full consideration of all other options but, ultimately, we concluded that the business wouldn’t survive without fundamentally changed crewing arrangements, which in turn would inevitably result in redundancies.”

There have been widespread protests following the sacking and the RMT union called it one of the “most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations.”

P&O Ferries is one of the UK’s leading ferry companies and carried more than 10 million passengers a year before the pandemic.



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