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Coronavirus Kent: Over 600 job losses at Dover in P&O Ferries mass redundancy over Covid-19


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More than half of the job losses announced by P&O this week will come from Dover.

A total 614 ratings will be made redundant as the company slims down to survive past the Covid-19 crisis according to a leaked document seen by KentOnline.

Only three P&O ships will sail from Dover in a slimmed down operation brought about by Coronavirus
Only three P&O ships will sail from Dover in a slimmed down operation brought about by Coronavirus

It comes as the roll-on-roll-off giant announced 1,100 job cuts across its business yesterday.

The document, a revised crewing list, says that the Dover-Calais route will reduce from a six ship operation to only three ships for the forseeable future and the number of Live On Board (LOB) crew will be slashed.

P&O is not confirming the figure or commenting on the document.

The paper says the new crewing model "provides greater flexibility to more effectively and efficiently cater for seasonal and periodic variations in customer demand.

A new “GP Rating” role, working across OBS and deck departments will be brought in and the catering on board will be remodelled.

The Spirit of France ferry is one of the remaining three ships to sail the Dover to Calais route. Picture P&O Ferries
The Spirit of France ferry is one of the remaining three ships to sail the Dover to Calais route. Picture P&O Ferries

The company says the proposed changes adhere to relevant safety regulations and a new muster list will be drawn up to maintain this according to the revised crewing.

Crewing numbers are currently 1,236 which will be reduced by 687 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs across the deck, technical and on-board services departments, were listed as 613.8 ratings.

This means a total 568 FTE positions will remain, made up of 484 FTE positions for the three operating ships, and an extra 66 roles to crew laid-up ships and 18 other unspecified crew.

The document says: "It is important for you to realise that the end of this crisis will not mean the end of challenging business conditions - for us and for many other companies - and the decisions we are taking now are required to ensure a stronger P&O.

"We want to retain as many jobs as we can however it is imperative that we take action to ensure our business is the right size for the post-Covid world and has the agility and flexibility to respond to changing market demands."

P&O Ferries' headquarters Channel House. Picture Steve R Salter
P&O Ferries' headquarters Channel House. Picture Steve R Salter

A statutory 45 day consultation is underway and will end on June 24 before dismissals commence.

Yesterday, Dover MP Natalie Elphicke blasted P&O bosses for taking millions in government support packages before "pulling the rug" on jobs.

Kentonline has not been made aware whether any jobs will be lost from P&O Ferries' headquarters Channel House or whether jobs will be replaced by foreign workers as previously stated by RMT general secretary Mick Cash.

Darren Proctor, national secretary of the RMT union has been contacted for a comment.

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