P&O Ferries to axe more than 1,000 staff due to coronavirus

P&O Ferries has announced plans to make 1,100 of its staff redundant, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the leisure and tourism industries.

The British ferry operator, based in Dover, announced the cuts after the widespread downturn in business within the sector.

P&O Ferries previously announced that it needed £257m in aid, in order to avoid collapsing into administration. The company had applied to the UK government for £150m in emergency funding.

Towards the end of last month, as passenger numbers have ended since the lockdown, P&O took seven ships out of service and furloughed 1,400 workers.

DP World made profits of more than £1bn last year, on revenues of more than £6bn. A dividend of £270m was recently paid out to DP World shareholders. However, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World Chairman and Chief Executive defended P&O’s plea for financial assistance.

He said: “DP World has never taken a penny out of P&O. Any profits we have made we have reinvested in new vessels. DP World owns many businesses around the world. You cannot just take money out of them to put into a company in another place – it doesn’t make sense.”

However, Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover said: “Let’s remember that P&O, which is owned by the Sovereign State of Dubai, has received millions of pounds of financial support from our government in recent weeks. There can be no doubt that Dubai has more than enough money to keep P&O going in full.

“It cannot be right for them to have taken millions of pounds from the hard-working British taxpayer in furlough and freight support payments and then decide to pull the rug.”