London (CNN Business)A Dubai-owned British ferry company fired 800 seafarers on Thursday, bringing chaos to some of the country’s biggest ports and prompting union officials to urge the workers to occupy their ships.
P&O Ferries carries more than 10 million passengers and 2.2 million units of freight between ports in the United Kingdom and Europe each year. The company, which is owned by Dubai’s logistics group DP World, said that it had resorted to mass layoffs to ensure its survival.
“In its current state, P&O Ferries is not a viable business. We have made a £100 million ($130 million) loss year on year, which has been covered by our parent DP World,” a spokesperson told CNN Business in a statement.