Coronavirus: P&O Ferries temporarily lays off workers
P&O Ferries will reportedly temporarily furlough more than 1,000 workers, using the government’s recently announced job retention scheme to pay staff during the coronavirus crisis.
Workers will be paid their basic salaries, with the government funding 80 per cent and P&O topping up the rest.
The English Channel operator said on Wednesday that it will ramp up freight operations to improve the flow of essential goods between Britain and mainland Europe as passenger numbers dwindle during the coronavirus outbreak.
Without the government scheme, which was announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak last week to mitigate against the economic impact of coronavirus, P&O would have had to cease operations.
Chief executive Janette Bell told the Telegraph: “Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, there are now very few passengers travelling and we cannot sustain these normal operations.
“Consequently, P&O Ferries will be suspending its passenger business and we will be focusing all of our efforts on maintaining the flow of freight to Britain.
“Dedicated staff in the passenger services part of our business will be furloughed onto the Government’s pay scheme. Without being able to make this decision, we would not be able to continue any of our operations.”