Carnival UK Lays Off One-Third of Staff

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Carnival UK has announced a sweeping round of job cuts.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has not only affected the holidays of our guests but it has also impacted every part of our business; our future deployment; the guest experience; our supply chain and our people on ship and onshore,” said President Simon Palethorpe in a prepared statement.

“Due to this impact, we have had to make some really tough decisions to ensure that we can sustain and protect our business for the future. Following a period of collective consultation, nearly a third of our shore-based staff will very sadly be leaving our business on June 30 and another significant proportion will take a period of sabbatical,” said Palethorpe.

“We are devastated to have to take this action which has affected so many talented and dedicated colleagues.

“We appreciate it is a very difficult and unsettling time for everyone but we have followed a clear and fair consultation process and considered all individual suggestions for new ways of working.

“At the current time as our operations are paused, we are working at the highest levels to develop a comprehensive restart program to phase our ships back into service with enhanced and approved protocols that will keep everyone on board well and still give our guests an amazing holiday.”

Carnival UK insists sales team cuts are ‘forced necessity’

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Carnival UK has confirmed its sales team will be reduced following a consultation launched as a result of the Covid-19 crisis but insisted the move was a “forced necessity” due to social distancing measures and limitations on agency visits.

The cruise giant completed a consultation period on Tuesday, with 450 roles – nearly a third of Carnival UK’s shore-based staff – being made redundant.

Several staff of P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess, Holland America Line and Seabourn highlighted their jobs were at risk on social media channels in recent weeks. Among those who posted are Chloe Palmer and Neal Hussey, who were both in the P&O Cruises sales team; Richard Cross, who worked in Cunard’s sales team; Princess Cruises’ commercial director Chris Barnaville; Andrea Jones and Charlotte Brailsford, who were both in the Princess agency sales team.

Carnival UK declined to confirm how many trades facing sales roles had been lost.

In addition to the redundancies, Carnival UK confirmed that “another significant proportion” of staff will take a period of sabbatical, a group understood to include Cunard’s UK sales director Gary Anslow. Travel Weekly believes Anslow has taken a six-month sabbatical and will return early January.

P&O Cruises’ president Paul Ludlow said the company was “devastated to have to take this action which has affected so many talented and dedicated colleagues”.

Despite the reduction in an agency facing roles in the sales team, Ludlow insisted the brand’s commitment to the trade “remained as strong as ever”.

During the consultation period, a member of staff, who was at risk and asked to remain anonymous, said the move was “completely the wrong decision”, claiming 60% of P&O Cruises’ UK bookings come from travel agents.

In a statement, Ludlow said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has not only affected the holidays of our guests but it has also impacted every part of our business; our future deployment; the guest experience; our supply chain and our people on the ship and onshore.

“Due to this impact, we have had to make some really tough decisions to ensure that we can sustain and protect our business for the future. Following a period of collective consultation, nearly a third of our shore-based staff will very sadly be leaving our business on June 30 and another significant proportion will take a period of sabbatical.

“We are devastated to have to take this action which has affected so many talented and dedicated colleagues.

“We appreciate it is a very difficult and unsettling time for everyone but we have followed a clear and fair consultation process and considered all individual suggestions for new ways of working.

“At the current time as our operations are paused, we are working at the highest levels to develop a comprehensive restart programme to phase our ships back into service with enhanced and approved protocols that will keep everyone on board well and still give our guests an amazing holiday.

“Our commitment to the travel trade remains as strong as ever. The reduction in the sales team was, very sadly, a forced necessity due to social distancing and the limitations of the shop and office visits.

“We remain committed to developing new ways of working to best support our agent partners encouraging agent feedback and including training and regular communication through our 15,000 strong agent Shine programme. We would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our sincere thanks to all our agent partners for their mutual work supporting our guests during our pause in operations and we look forward to working together as we develop our re-start plans.”

P&O Cruises says agents ‘vital’ as staff claim trade teams under threat

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The boss of P&O Cruises has insisted agents’ support will be “vital” to developing the brand’s restart plans, despite claims the field sales team has been cut as part of a restructure at parent Carnival UK.

Paul Ludlow, president of P&O Cruises, said its commitment to the trade “remains as strong as ever” as a consultation that could see up to 450 jobs lost continues.

His comments came in response to claims from members of staff at Carnival UK that regional agent-facing sales teams at P&O and sister brands Cunard and Princess Cruises were set to be removed.

One staff member under consultation, who asked to remain anonymous, said the move was “completely the wrong decision”, claiming 60% of P&O Cruises’ UK bookings come from travel agents.

Agents also told Travel Weekly of redundancies in the trade sales teams, as well as senior staff going on long-term sabbaticals.

Carnival UK said no decisions would be made or communicated until the consultation finishes at the end of June.

However, a letter sent to staff confirmed it would not be making use of the government’s extended furlough scheme, which it said would “delay the inevitable need we have to right-size our business in order to sustain and protect it for the future”.

The letter also confirms sabbaticals were being discussed for some roles that were needed in the company’s long-term structure but not in the short term.

P&O Cruises has cancelled all sailings up to October, Cunard until November and Princess Cruises has cancelled all summer sailings as the industry battles the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Ludlow said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has not only affected the holidays of our guests but it has also impacted every part of our business; our future deployment; the guest experience; our supply chain and our people on ship and on shore. During our pause in operations we have tried to create as much certainty and stability as possible for our colleagues in the office as well as those on board.

“Unfortunately though, and similar to many businesses, as Covid-19 has continued to impact our way of life it is necessary to make changes to our organisation to build a stable platform for the time we phase our ships back into service and for future growth.

“We appreciate it is a very difficult and unsettling time for everyone but we are following a clear and fair consultation process and considering the suggestions put forward by each individual.

“I am so proud to see so many examples of absolute professionalism throughout this period with everyone supporting each other. The process is still continuing and no decisions will be made or communicated until we reach the conclusion at the end of the month.

“Our commitment to the travel trade remains as strong as ever and support from agents will be vital as we develop our re-start plans.”