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P&O Dover-Calais line still cancelled, readers plan to boycott service

‘I'm totally disgusted’, ‘P&O workers should be treated with more respect’...Your reactions to the ferry company’s sudden sacking of 800 British staff

P&O Ferries announced the sudden dismissal of 800 of its British crew on March 17 Pic: ALLYOU Grzegorz Wasowicz / Shutterstock

P&O Ferries’ Dover to Calais route remains suspended after the company sacked all 800 of its British staff in a cost-cutting move last week (March 17). 

Read more: P&O sacks 800 UK crew saying action was needed to remain ‘viable’

When the sackings happened, it was predicted that P&O crossings including the Dover-Calais service would be suspended for up to 10 days. 

The company’s Liverpool to Dublin route is the only one still running. 

P&O Ferries asks customers who are scheduled to travel between the UK and France with them this week to “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,” the company wrote on Twitter. 

P&O Ferries’ abrupt sacking of its British crew last week has prompted outrage among customers, unions, politicians and other public figures. 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday (March 23) that it appears P&O Ferries' move broke the law and that if the company is found guilty, it could face fines of the millions of pounds. 

The UK’s Insolvency Service is to investigate whether the company breached employment law by failing to consult with unions, staff and the government before making the announcement. 

Meanwhile, France’s Force Ouvrière (Workers’ Force or FO) union has also called for the French government to intervene in the British company’s decision.

Read more: French union calls for government action over P&O sackings

Connexion readers react

Dozens of Connexion readers who frequently sail between the UK and France have written in to express their anger at P&O Ferries move, with many saying they will never use the company again. Here are some of their comments:

“We have used P&O for nearly 50 years, we have a house in France and in the UK so travel by ferry several times a year. I will NEVER use P&O again even if they give me free tickets. It is deplorable the way they have treated their employees.”

“P&O's terrible treatment of their staff has made me decide never to use any of their ferries again. Not only is it immoral to sack workers at such short notice, it does not inspire confidence to know that experienced workers have been replaced by unfortunate people being paid a fraction of the appropriate salaries. 

 “I like to feel that I'm in good hands when I drive my car on to a ferry to cross one of the busiest sea routes in the world.”

“Absolutely, positively, definitely will NOT be using P&O for the foreseeable future”. 

“They are a big company and with that comes responsibility, not only to their workers but also to the communities within which the company operates.”

“This appallingly unethical decision has made me change my mind. I shall go to France in May via the Eurotunnel and return with DFDS (another ferry company). 

P&O workers should be treated with more respect and consideration.”

“I’m totally disgusted. I won’t use them again.”

“Not good. Time to issue new licences. Definitely must be made to pay the price.”

“P&O was the best ferry line for price and service and I used them most of the time but now I will never use them again because of their attitude to their employees.”

“I will never use P&O again. I had an old friend planning to come out to see me after I became very ill and the trip was cancelled. It was too expensive to change the plans at the last minute. The disappointment was acute. I discovered today who owns the company. People with no scruples or morals. I'm devastated for the employees.”

“Personally, I'd prefer paying more than to take P&O from now on.”

“Of course we will boycott P&O. The action of their Emirati owners is despicable. It’s DFDS for us in the future (having had an appalling service from Eurotunnel last year). The lack of competition in the cross channel market is concerning.”

“I am a concessionary holder (ex-shareholder given 50% fare reduction). It was already noticeable last year that P&O looked to be operating on reduced staffing, partially down to the aftermath of Covid. There was only one person serving the Club Lounge and only three of us in the lounge! We had already decided to take the Tunnel next month in case the weather was bad. But what the company has done is really shocking and I’m not sure we’ll use them in future.”

P&O’s decision to sack its UK workforce is disgraceful and probably illegal also? My family and I have been regular users of P&O Ferries and also their cruise ship holidays. I have cancelled plans to book P&O Cruise and will never use their services again for either. This is something I feel most strongly about and I feel the UK government should make a stand on this and stop them from using British ports with immediate effect.”

If you had booked to sail with P&O Ferries in the past week and your journey was disrupted due to the sackings, we would like to hear from you. Equally, if you have a booking with the company in the upcoming week, we would also like to hear from you. Write to us at news@connexionfrance.com

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