P&O crew member recalls being woken up after night shift to 'bombshell' firing video

18 March 2022, 11:14

Around 800 staff members were sacked on Thursday, prompting protests at the Port of Dover
Around 800 staff members were sacked on Thursday, prompting protests at the Port of Dover. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Daisy Stephens

A former P&O crew member has told LBC he was woken up after a night shift to watch a recorded video firing all 800 staff members.

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Simon, who had worked as a steward for the company for almost a decade, said it was "the most shocking thing" and he had rewatched it "many times" to try and understand.

"I was on night shifts, I got woken up to go and watch this important announcement and we were all sat together on board the ship," he told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

Read more: Government 'made aware' of P&O's mass sacking on Wednesday but 'didn’t tell anyone'

Read more: Iain Dale says nationalise P&O Ferries after firm sacks all 800 workers

"The video was played and it was just the most shocking thing to watch.

"I have rewatched it many times and I'm just still trying to figure out how someone who claims to be a HR professional can do this."

On Thursday P&O Ferries announced it was sacking all its 800 seafarers to be replaced with foreign staff.

Simon said before the sacking the crew was "like a family" despite the challenges posed by Covid, and the CEO "had time for" all his employees.

"We were like a family," he said.

"I would say we'd had some really tough times of late with Covid, and there was a round of redundancies in 2020."

Read more: Andrew Marr: What were P&O Ferries thinking sacking 800 staff like this in the modern era?

Read more: 'It's illegal': LBC's Daniel Barnett on what the P&O sackings mean for staff

But despite turbulent recent years, Simon said P&O had been "quite generous" and topped up the Government furlough money, so the shock firing was "the biggest bombshell" he had ever seen.

"We knew that Covid was going to have an impact with the business, we were trying everything that we could to help facilitate changes that were coming down the line, and then yesterday the biggest bombshell ever to probably affect a British company that I can recall," he said.

When asked, Simon said he did not really know what lay ahead for him.

"I don't really know [what's next for me]," he said.

"In the last few hours I've hardly slept, I've actually approached a couple of agencies that funnily enough are actually recruiting for [P&O] positions and I know full well that they won't hire us," he said.

"Because what will happen is - whilst in the video it was said that we could reapply for our positions though the agency - P&O will just say no."

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