P&O Ferries services have been halted “in preparation of a company announcement” later on Thursday.
The ferry company stated it was not going out of business, but that all boats had been told to stay in port.
Following reports that hundreds of crew members may be “sacked and replaced with foreign labour,” the RMT union asked the company to protect jobs.
As a result, some of today’s sailings have been cancelled, and customers have been advised to use other firms.
P&O has 14 services between Dover and Calais, three between Liverpool and Dublin, and seven between Larne in County Antrim and Cairnryan in Dumfries and Galloway scheduled today.
Members have been told to stay onboard their ships once they have docked or risk being “locked out” of their jobs, according to the union.
We’re preparing for the long haul. We are adamant about fighting, “Geoff Martin, a spokesman for the RMT, said.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, told MPs in the Commons that the revelations had him “concerned” and that he “will be taking steps later today, including ensuring that my officers are having urgent meetings with P & O about the situation.”
Customers with tickets were told to check-in to rival ferry firm DFDS’ services after the cross-Channel operator announced on Twitter that sailings between Dover and Calais scheduled for 11:10 am, 11:15 am, and 12:35 pm would no longer run.
The firm claimed in a note to employees that the news “will safeguard the long-term future of P&O Ferries” and that it has the support of Dubai-based DP World, which purchased the ferry operator for £322 million in 2019.
Before the epidemic, P&O was one of the UK’s largest ferry operators, transporting more than 10 million people and 15% of all freight cargo in and out of the country.
However, it, like many other transportation companies, experienced a drop in demand in 2020, requiring it to make 1,110 job cuts. This came after the company was unable to seek a £150 million government rescue.