P&O on the brink of cutting 1,600 jobs – 40 per cent of its workforce – due to losses caused by coronavirus

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FERRY firm P&O is on the brink of culling up to 40 per cent of its workforce.

Around 1,600 of the company’s 4,000 posts are at risk due to huge losses caused by Covid-19.

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An insider at the company, which normally carries ten million passengers a year on cruises and ferries, said: “Coronavirus has hit all businesses hard but especially the cruising industry.

“P&O has never faced a harder time than it is now. Staff are understandably very worried.”

The news comes days after P&O’s rival operator Cruise & Maritime Voyages went into administration.

Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company, is losing £500million a month to maintain its fleet.

Stena Line has also decided to put 600 staff on furlough and cut others.

Ferry firms have been hit harder than most due to fears over how the virus can spread on ships.

It means P&O, one of Britain’s most iconic brands, faces the biggest crisis in its 180-year history.

In May, the firm said some 1,100 posts were to be axed.

But in the past eight weeks this is believed to have grown as the scale of losses hits home.

Our source added: “The next few months are crucial for the firm’s survival.”

The firm has admitted it is losing £250,000 per day as tourist travel collapsed and freight shipments are down by up to 20 per cent.

It is trying to cut costs by reducing wages and pension contributions — and it has asked for a £150million taxpayer bailout.

The company declined to comment.

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