Services were suspended and a series of protests were due to take place against P&O’s “appalling” decision to lay off 800 seafarers.
Unions and politicians have condemned the mass layoff, which the company blamed on £100million losses following a drop in travel due to the pandemic.
The company said on Friday morning it would not be able to operate services “for the next few days” from Dover to Calais, Hull to Rotterdam, Liverpool to Dublin and Cairnryan, Scotland to Larne, Scotland. North Ireland.
He advised those already in Dover and Calais to go to the Danish company DFDS check-in desks, but there were no such instructions for those in Hull, Rotterdam, Liverpool, Dublin, Cairnryan or Larne.
The Labor MP for Kingston upon Hull East has called on the government to force P&O to ‘come up with a different plan’.
Karl Turner told the BBC: “What I’m saying to the government is you need to put P&O in a position where they’re willing to negotiate with union members.
“And they have to come up with a different plan. They can’t just summarily fire people without any consultation or notice. That’s 800 jobs across the country.
Earlier, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said it was seeking legal advice to challenge the layoffs.
He said the UK had experienced one of the ‘most vicious examples of despotic behavior by employers’ and one of the most shameful episodes in its recent industrial history.
Announcing the decision on Thursday, the ferry operator, bought by Dubai-based logistics giant DP World in 2019, insisted the decision to cut jobs was “very difficult but necessary” because it was not “not a viable business” in its current state.
The 800 workers were fired immediately, without notice, so that they could be replaced by cheaper labour.
Security guards boarded the ships in handcuffs to remove the fired crew, it was alleged.
The union on Friday called for mass unions and wider public support for protests in Dover, Liverpool and Hull.
In a message to RMT members, General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “It was with profound shock that I heard the news of the wholesale job cuts at P&O Ferries, but I am sure my shock was nothing compared to the devastation this news brought to you and your colleagues.
He added: ‘This appalling situation is due to DP World wanting to maximize its profits and the failure of the government to step in and protect your jobs and those of your colleagues.’
Tory MP Huw Merriman, chairman of the Transport Select Committee, said P&O had shown “contempt” for its staff.
“If they don’t back off immediately and reinstate employees and go through the proper process, it’s hard to see a way back for them commercially,” he said.
“Parent company DP World needs to understand that the British public will not do business with companies that treat their employees with such contempt.”
Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said: ‘This is not corporate restructuring. That is not the way we do business in this country.
“It is below contempt; the action of thugs.
P&O Ferries said in a statement: “We have suffered a loss of £100m year-on-year which has been covered by our parent company, DP World. This is not sustainable.
“Our survival depends on rapid and significant change now. Without these changes there is no future for P&O Ferries.