650 jobs to go at SeaFrance

Contributed by editor on Feb 18, 2009 - 12:00 AM

Cross Channel ferry operator SeaFrance is to cut more than a third of
its 1,700-strong workforce, in an attempt to deal with "grave economic
and financial difficulties".

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SeaFrance explained its decision by the impact of the
world economic crisis and its impact on the English Channel freight
market, which it said had slumped by 20%.

The company’s management, which was told by the SeaFrance board to take
more drastic measures after presenting a first rescue plan last month,
has more than doubled the number of job cuts it had initially envisaged.

A statement said 650 jobs would be shed in France, affecting both
sea-going and shore-based staff, and the firm would be restructured.

Announcing a restructuring plan, the firm said there had been a "steep
fall in the Cross-Channel freight market".

SeaFrance does not indicate the timescale for implementation of the cuts
but says it is aiming to return to break-even in 2010 with a view to
becoming a “strong” shipping company again in 2011.