Stena Line Announces More Job Cuts Due to COVID-19
Swedish ferry company Stena Line said Monday it will furlough 600 employees and make 150 redundant in UK and Ireland due to the COVID-19 pandemic's damaging effect on travel and transport across Europe.
The announcement comes several weeks after the company laid off hundreds in Scandinavia and the Baltics as the coronavirus crisis weighs heavily on travel bookings and freight volumes. Already the company has reduced its number of sailings on several routes, and several vessels have been taken out of service.
“The COVID-19 crisis has meant that Stena Line is experiencing a significant decline in passenger and freight volumes across all its 20 European routes. We are having to make some very difficult decisions, that we hoped we would never have to make,” said Ian Hampton, Director, Stena Line.
The furlough and redundancies relates to both shored-based and sea-based employees, including those working on vessels on the Irish Sea and North Sea, and discussions with the trade unions are underway.
Stena Line, which estimates its passenger figures will not recover until well into 2021, said the cost cuts will help ensure its supply lines of essential goods in Europe are maintained. " With no end to the crisis in sight, Stena Line is planning for the long-term," the company said.
“In order to secure the continuity of our freight operations, we have no choice but to reduce our costs. We are committed to keep vital supply lines open for UK and Ireland. Regrettably we must furlough employees on temporary paid leave and make redundancies, as we adjust to this new reality. We will do everything in our means to ensure essential supply lines stay operational during what is a very difficult time for the company and the countries that we serve,” Hampton said.
In line with the UK’s Job Retention Scheme all employees placed on Furlough Leave will receive 80% of their salaries paid by the government capped at £2,500 per month. However, Stena Line have agreed to maintain all salaries at 80%. Employees in Ireland will receive the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, which provides for up to 70% of wages to a maximum of €410 per week. Stena Line will also maintain Irish employees' salaries up to 80%.
Furlough will also be used to help vulnerable employees, such those that need to self-isolate due to underlying health conditions, those that are pregnant, and where possible, those with caring responsibilities due to COVID-19.
Last month, Stena Line announced redundancies that will affect 950 people employed in Scandinavia. A number of these employees have since also been furloughed. Further job losses have subsequently been made in Denmark and the Baltics.
The company said it is evaluating its operations in all regions and does not rule out that there could be further furlough, redundancy or changes to its current sailing schedules or routes.