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DFDS Ferry company announces 650 Covid-related job losses but can't confirm how Dover will be affected

Ferries union the RMT has deemed redundancies by Danish ferry operator DFDS, which runs out of Dover, “another kick in the teeth for port communities”.

Responding to news that 650 jobs would go, RMT senior assistant general secretary Mick Lynch said: “DFDS has received Critical Freight Grant and furlough money from the taxpayer but is attempting to cut back UK ferry capacity in what is becoming a grimly familiar tale for our members.”

DFDS' Dover Seaways ferry
DFDS' Dover Seaways ferry

DFDS is making the redundancies across its whole operation, which includes 20 European locations.

An announcement yesterday said the restructure is to take a "commercial focus of freight strengthened by change of business structure" and "passenger concepts and operations will be adapted to new market conditions".

Savings of £30.4million are expected to be made from the measures.

The firm employs just over 8,600 people group-wide and 2,200 in the UK at Dover, Newcastle, Newhaven and Immingham.

The company has been asked to comment and to provide a breakdown of how many jobs will be lost at the Dover port.

One of the DFDS fleet, Côtes des Dunes, outside Dover
One of the DFDS fleet, Côtes des Dunes, outside Dover

A DFDS spokeswoman said: "There is no news yet on whether there will be any impact locally."

Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS, said: "Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in mid-March and the initial actions taken to adapt operations, a plan with a longer perspective has been developed for implementation in the coming months.

“Our initial response to Covid-19 has been successful. We now take further steps to restore long-term growth and efficiency. At the same time, we continue to monitor new opportunities that may arise.”

It comes as P&O Ferries plans to make 1,100 people redundant, with 614 jobs going at Dover.

Mr Lynch added: “We must see travel restrictions lifted as early and as safely as possible but we must also see the Government take responsibility and protect the future of British ratings or our coastal towns and cities will bear the brunt of the economic fall-out from Covid-19.”

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