On the morning of March 17, 2022, British shipping company P&O Ferries announced the dismissal of 800 British sailors with immediate effect. As a consequence, three P&O boats operating between Calais, France, and Dover, England, were immobilized. The employees are set to be replaced by 100 Colombian sailors and around 40 temporary workers.
British Maritime minister Robert Courts called the move “wholly unacceptable”. The company reportedly received more than £10 million in state aid ($13 million) during the COVID-19 pandemic, and recently paid £270 million ($355 million) of dividends to its shareholders.
In a show of solidarity, several airlines operating in the United Kingdom have offered priority recruitment to the affected employees.
Low-cost carrier easyJet said it was fast-tracking applications for UK Cabin Crew roles from P&O Ferries employees.
“As part of our ongoing recruitment drive we still have fantastic seasonal cabin crew opportunities across our UK network, along with a number of roles at our London Luton Airport headquarters and our recruitment team will be reaching out to as many individuals as possible, to encourage them to apply,” said Tina Milton, Director of Cabin Services for easyJet. “We know that P&O Ferries’ people will be a valuable addition to our easyJet team and we would be delighted to welcome many of them onboard with us in the coming weeks.”
British regional air carrier Eastern Airways said it would also prioritize P&O employees for positions such as crewing officer, cabin crew, customer support agents and engineers.
“Our thoughts are with so many who have received the sad news of further travel industry job losses with P&O Ferries in the last 24-hours,” Eastern Airways said on Twitter. “We have therefore opened up some additional vacancies to support our expanding service with priority for affected P&O staff.”
Similarly, Wizz Air UK invited P&O employees to attend the upcoming open recruitment days.
“We can only imagine the worry that impacted P&O employees must be feeling right now,” said Marion Geoffroy, managing director of Wizz Air UK. “Regardless of experience, we encourage those looking for a new job to attend one of our upcoming recruitment events, to learn more about the exciting opportunities we have on offer.”