EasyJet is coming to the rescue of hundreds of sacked P&O Ferries workers with the offer of fast-tracking applications for cabin crew positions at its London Luton base. Around 800 long-serving P&O staff were fired with immediate effect yesterday via a short video call in a move that Downing Street labelled “completely unacceptable”.
Some of the dismissed workers were dragged off ships by military-trained security personnel wearing balaclavas and handcuffs after P&O suddenly cancelled all of its sailings for a “major announcement”.
The loss-making ferry company said it couldn’t continue operations in its present form and that major and immediate changes were required to keep the business viable. Sacked British and European workers are to be replaced with far cheaper foreign labour employed through third-party agencies.
P&O Ferries is owned by Dubai-based DP World which made use of Britain’s generous monetary support schemes during the pandemic. Furlough payments designed to keep workers in their jobs and totalling millions of pounds were given to the company by British taxpayers.
“Everyone at easyJet is saddened by the news about P&O Ferries and the anxiety that their people will be feeling,” commented easyJet’s director of cabin services, Tina Milton several hours the news broke on Thursday.
“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,” Milton continued.
“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.”
The aviation industry is ramping up recruitment to meet a surge in travel demand but many airlines and airport companies are currently struggling to recruit enough staff to meet anticipated forecasts.
British Airways is also still looking to recruit cabin crew for its new Gatwick airport operations, although this is a new subsidiary airline which was specifically started with lower wages and worse terms and conditions for staff.
At the height of the pandemic, British Airways was accused of trying to make a similar move as P&O by sacking veteran staff on generous pay and conditions and then rehiring them on far cheaper contracts.
The ploy, which was dubbed ‘fire and rehire’ was blasted by lawmakers who described BA as a “national disgrace” in an official report into the practice.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.