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P&O Leaving Portsmouth


BJSLIV

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My glass is always half empty, my husband's half full.  My reaction was the same as Lajamerie, Brittany having free rein to put their prices up even higher.  However, my husband thinks it could leave a gap for someone like Speedferries.  Trouble is, they haven't got the shrt route to Boulogne sorted yet, so I think it will be a long wait for us in the west.

For a long time now we have found it more cost effective to get Tunnel deals and make the journey "up north" as our UK destination is eqidistant between Portsmouth and Ashford.  However, my main concern now is for our business here in France.  I should think about 90% of our British visitors this summer came into Cherbourg or Le Havre with P&O - boo hoo!!

And of course, with all the job losses involved there will be the added disruption of port blockades by the French workers.

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Anyone expecting friends / guests on a PO out of Portsmouth today may have a long wait. TOH is sitting patiently at the pre-checkin carpark at Portsmouth waiting for P&O staff to finish a union meeting to see if they'll operate sailings today.

And as far as sailings to Le Havre, Ouistreham and Cherbourg go, if there's a vacuum someone will fill it. Even if it's BF for le Havre. Hmmm... better renew my property owners membership!

Carole

Update:

the ferry sailed about an hour late because, say PO, apart from the union meeting they were trying to ensure that on arrival at Cherbourg, the boat would be allowed to dock - that there wouldn't be a protest blockade in France preventing docking / disembarkation.
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Hello, saw the news about P&O leaving portsmouth on the teletext news headlines and thought how dreadfull it was for their customers. We also use the sailing from Portsmouth to Cherbourg to go to our holiday home in Normandy. The sailing by Brittany ferries to St-Malo would mean a much longer sailing time and a longer journey by road. We couldnt use any of the low cost airlines as we need a car in France. Hope another ferry company takes over the portsmouth sailing routes. James.

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Things are already looking up.  Better on-board food for starters...... well, maybe not if they're keeping the same staff.

 

And no more tired soundings announcements from the Captain telling us that docking will be delayed by 20 minutes because there is a Brittany/P&O ferry in our berth!

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Was due to sail on the P&O fast boat from Cherbourg to Portsmouth this morning at 12h30. I arrived early, having heard the news on the radio of the job cuts. It was terrible there, the counter was shut, there was nothing notify customers of what was happening, the few staff members I saw were walking around crying - they had not been notified by P&O but heard the news from passengers! How can they treat people like this and get away with it? I use the Cherbourg - Portsmouth route frequently. How can P&O say it is because of low cost airlines - we have none servicing Cherbourg or Caen. Eurotunnel from where we live (close to Utah Beach)is out of the question. They say cost is a factor, yet I get a ticket as a foot passenger on a 5 day return for 33.44 euros! The arguments put out from P&O management are completely untrue as far as I can see. They say people don't want to use the western route as it takes so long, so why did they put a new boat into service this year on the Portsmouth-Caen rout? If they'd have replaced that old banger on the Portsmouth-Cherbourg route and given us a reliable service, more people would probably have used it.

My heart really goes out to the staff affected, and the way they have been treated by the management at P&O. When I phoned their customer services dept. in Dover this morning no one knew what was going on. I was initially told to go to Brittany ferries and I could transfer to their boat at no cost. The Brittany Ferries staff just laughed. I phoned their office in UK and spoke to a manager their who said they have no arrangement for today. When I phoned P&O back to tell them this my call was disconnected! When I phoned back I was told that the Pride of Cherbourg is due to leave tonight at 19h00 and I will be transferred to that. If anyone out there knows how to get hold of members of the union, let me know. I think they need as much support as they can get on this one, and so do we. No competition is a bad thing for everyone. We have proved before to be a strong lot on this site, lets see what we can do now. It's not just P&O staff jobs on the line, what about all of those here in Normandy who run gites and B&B's? I have never felt so angry or passionate about anything as I do right this moment. Sorry if I've gone on - wish it had made me feel better but it hasn't.

Val
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It's distressing news and I don't think the implications have sunk in yet.  There is no doubt that the writing has been on the wall for a long time.  I travel from Cherbourg to Portsmouth every month and the boat has never been full for the last two years. 

At the moment Brittany Ferries to Poole or Portsmouth looks the best bet and I bet their phone is ringing off the wall with enquiries about their Holiday Home owners scheme. Worryingly there are no references to the scheme on their website at the moment and there used to be.  Does anyone know if you can still join it and how much it costs?

If I can't get reasonable prices for the car it will be foot passenger by ferry and train for me next year.

 

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[quote]Things are already looking up. Better on-board food for starters...... well, maybe not if they're keeping the same staff. And no more tired soundings announcements from the Captain telling us tha...[/quote]

I'm sorry******o but I find these remarks really inappropriate. If you'd have been at the ferry port this morning and seen the effect it had on the P&O staff loosing their jobs, I don't think you would joke like this. Don't forget it's going to have a big knock effect too, especially with those running gites and B&B's. We have no low cost airline coming into this part of Normandy and if Brittany Ferries increase their fares, as they could well do now they have no competition, then there are going to be less visitors to this part of France. Less trade, lower house prices and higher unemployment for local people. This is serious and I am going to do all I can to make sure people realise what P&O are doing. I have long been one of the first to complain on this forum, about problems with P&O, but to see the staff treated in this way, not to mention the passengers, makes my blood boil.

Val
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I have to agree that they seem to have treated their staff appallingly but it wouldn't be the first time this has happened. What is making my blood boil at the moment is that it looks like I've just wasted £35 on P&O's traveller club for nothing!! I only joined last week! Living in Southampton and with a house in the Aude, the drive to Dover and then back down the French side is a killer!  What is handy for us is the afternoon sailing (with free cabin) and then an overnight drive - we can't do that from Dover as there's no time to get a bit of a kip.

Flying isn't really any cheaper if you then have to hire a car and the flights aren't THAT cheap from the south of England and they only go to Toulouse anyway (for the south of France)! If we have to go to Stansted it's no cheaper 'cos we then have to pay to park the car - so it's all a false economy anyway.

My fear is that Brittany Ferries will now be able to charge what they like for the crossing although the reason that P&O have pulled out is because they couldn't make the routes pay so Brittany had better be careful or they could go the same way.

(Does that make sense???) 

Val - I'm joining you in having a little rant!

Jo

 

 

 

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since owning my french house 2 yrs ago have been making the trip via p&o either cherbourg or le harvre

always found p&o cheaper compared with bf but after today wonder if that may change.

i notice that bf have quickly don a deal to take over the le harvre and cherbourg routes(and ships) which does limit a newcomer to the western channel.

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I'm sorry******o but I find these remarks really inappropriate. If you'd have been at the ferry port this morning and seen the effect it had on the P&O staff loosing their jobs, I don't think you would joke like this. Don't forget it's going to have a big knock effect too, especially with those running gites and B&B's. We have no low cost airline coming into this part of Normandy and if Brittany Ferries increase their fares, as they could well do now they have no competition, then there are going to be less visitors to this part of France. Less trade, lower house prices and higher unemployment for local people. This is serious and I am going to do all I can to make sure people realise what P&O are doing

Val

You will see that I was the second person to respond to this posting this morning and in a concerned way.  I then spent the rest of the morning searching the net for more information.  I wasn't at the port, so couldn't know that the staff had been told in such an inappropriate way.  I was trying to see if there was an upside to this situation in any way but if it has been taken as a bad taste joke then I apologise to anyone who feels like you.

At the moment, since I was made redundant last year, in a similarly unexpected way (in fact I had literally just been promised that my job was secure for as long as I wanted it) my B&B in Normandy is now our only source of income - so indeed I do take this all EXTREMELY seriously and find it quite alarming.

However, you also have to look at it realistically - all our local towns have ploughed thousands of euros into improving facilities, websites, museums, advertising etc.  It has been said many times that Brittany Ferries are government subsidised and the Brits out here with gites and B&Bs are not the only ones trying to make a living out of tourism.  I think the French Government will be watching the situation very closely.  They won't have wanted to have spent millions of euros on a now excellent infrastructure in this region to see it all fall apart because of one British company.

You may think my posting inappropriate.  As far as lower house prices are concerned, I know that the French in this part of MAnche are crying out for them and I also know that there are still plenty of people who come to this region via the tunnel and Calais because they don't like the long ferry crossings.

On a personal level I think that at the moment it appears disastrous, but please, don't start panics of property market crashes, unemployment and trade deficits just yet!

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P&O is not making enough money from cross channel activities, there is massive over supply of seats etc. so directors have decided to cut back on (probably) the least profitable routes. What would you do in similar circs ? Cut prices ? It doesn't seem to be working for Ryanair - last week's 50p + taxes is now 25p + taxes.

Someone else will step in to fill the breech if there is money to be made - Virgin Ferries perhaps ?

Having been redundanted more times than I care to mention, it makes little difference how you find out. And as for union action - it will just hasten the end and cause any remaining passengers more grief.

I have sympathy for anyone whose business is affected by outside influences but sadly, life does that or at least it does in the real world.

John not Di

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We were supposed to be coming out Portsmouth to Cherbourg this coming Saturday, but they phoned us yesterday to say the boat is being serviced or something. So we're already peeved about having to re-route to Le Havre ( although sweetened by 50% refund ). But now we're concerned about possible delays through strike action, or being stuck in France (although, maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing).

In the couple of years we've had our house in France we've always travelled with P&O because we always found them cheaper, especially on the 4 day breaks we've had. The times always seemed to fit in better with our plans. I hope we will be able to use Brittany Ferries now with no major price increases, but with no competition, who knows.
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In my eyes, the P&O Ferries part of the company are a really poorly run outfit. Last year they were saying how well they were now performing and had turned the corner, a few months later they were making staff redundant and then employing Portuguese to save money.

They are in the competitive cross channel travel market place and you need directors and a chairman who know how to compete and make it work, to my thinking, they did not have a board who were up to the task. BF have gone from being often subsidised, to an outfit who have grown very strong and who will have yet another new ferry on their western routes by 2006.

I hardly think it is a good comparison to say RyanAir have taken another 25p off, as 50p each way wasn't working !! RyanAir are like MFI and have a different "sounding" sale every week to encourage people to fly with them and anyway, they ain't doing so bad...........

I'm afraid Mr Branson is more interested in "space travel" now and ferry business and Virgin has been mooted a few times before and he has simply kept tight lipped.

So what should the workers do, lay down?

It is their livelihood and just because one thinks it will do no good, then they needn't  bother to show solidarity, in case you upset the travellers? Well sorry but when the staff are sacked, the passengers won't pay the mortgage and feed the kids will they?  I do have full sympathy with passengers who will be disrupted by any action (I have been stranded on the dockside at Cherbourg for 48 hours myself, in years gone by) but many of these people are from an area that has a pretty poor employment record and finding work for many of them, will not be easy.

It is worth remembering that BF went through all this with strikes, a very short while ago and the workers kept their jobs and avoided foreign workers filling their shoes.

Has anybody noticed,  BF announced this morning, that they were now going to take over the leases of the P&O ferries, Prides of Portsmouth and Le Havre.  Now that kind of decision doesn't happen overnight, so this arrangement had to be made some while ago, didn't it?

 

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I've found fault with all the western channel ferries at one time or the other. However the lack of competition/alternative routes can only be a bad thing long term, the costs are high now I can only see them increasing in the future and I bet P&O don't refund travel club members money ?

" after all you can still use our other splendid routes"

I've been using Dover Calais for a while now as there's always a deal to be had on that route with one operator or another, though it's a fair drive to the house in Brittany. I've already booked with Trans Manche on the Newhaven Dieppe route so will see how this pans out, the deal I got was cheaper than any on offer for Dover/Calais. May be hope yet?

Andy

 

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