P&O Ferries has announced plans to make 1,100 of its staff redundant.
The ferry operator, based in Dover, Kent, said the reduced number of vessels and downturn in business had forced its decision to lay off staff.
A spokesperson for the firm said “right-sizing” the business was a necessary step to create a viable and sustainable P&O Ferries.
The owners of P&O Ferries had previously stated the business needed £257m in aid to avoid collapse.
Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said the news was “disappointing” and urged P&O’s owners to “stump up or sell to better owners”.
‘Hard-working British taxpayer’
She said: “Let’s remember that P&O, which is owned by the Sovereign State of Dubai, has received millions of pounds of financial support from our government in recent weeks. There can be no doubt that Dubai has more than enough money to keep P&O going in full.
“It cannot be right for them to have taken millions of pounds from the hard-working British taxpayer in furlough and freight support payments and then decide to pull the rug.”
In April, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told the BBC the company had applied to the UK government for £150m.
A consultation period was now under way, a spokesperson added.
He said: “Since the beginning of the crisis, P&O Ferries has been working with its stakeholders to address the impact of the loss of the passenger business.
“It is now clear that right-sizing the business is necessary to create a viable and sustainable P&O Ferries to get through Covid-19.
“Regrettably, therefore, due to the reduced number of vessels we are operating and the ongoing downturn in business we are beginning consultation proceedings with a proposal to make around 1,100 of our colleagues redundant.”