Sacked P&O Ferries staff attend jobs fair in Dover as operator resumes crossings

Watch: ITV News Meridian's Sarah Saunders speaks to former P&O Ferries staff at a jobs fair in Dover

Scores of the nearly 800 staff that were sacked by P&O Ferries turned up at a jobs fair laid on for them in Dover on Wednesday (27 April) morning, after struggling to find new work.

Among them was former deck petty officer Lee Davison, who worked for the ferry operator for 30 years. He says he is immensely grateful for the jobs fair, which has brought together local employers, and training and eduction providers.

He said: "You're walking round here now, seeing all the different companies that have got vacancies.

"They've all rallied round to get our guys back in employment which is really good, especially for their mental health."

A jobs fair in Dover for former P&O Ferries staff who were sacked in March 2022. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Representatives from Border Force, colleges, and other ferry companies were offering opportunities.

Chris Parker from DFDS said: "Well of course they've got experience operating this sort of route; it's a very intensive route. Of course they come in and they have DFDS training, but they already have a good understanding on what is required."

Councillor Trevor Bartlett, the Conservative leader of Dover Council said: "There is over a thousand jobs on offer, so we wanted to do something to help the people of Dover."

Meanwhile P&O Ferries resumed cross-Channel sailings on Tuesday night for the first time since the mass sackings on March 17.

The vessel Spirit Of Britain began operating between Dover and Calais for carrying freight customers. Passenger services are expected to resume early next week.

In a statement P&O Ferries said: "P&O Ferries is now a modern, dynamic, competitive and viable business which can meet customer needs flexibly in a way that has not been possible in the past.

"Our morale is high and our spirit as a company is strong."