Ian Guider: P&O’s self-inflicted damage could scupper attempt to navigate a low-cost course

Drastic cost-cutting by Irish Ferries in 2005 was met by public outrage, but the company is now poised to clean up in the wake of its rival’s spectacular PR own goal

Eamonn Rothwell, chief executive of Irish Continental Group: said slashing the Irish Ferries workforce was about ‘the life or death of a company’. Picture: Fergal Phillips

The bosses of P&O are currently paying a public price for their extraordinary St Patrick’s Day decision to fire 800 staff from their ferries division via a video call, and replace them with cheaper workers.

The British government has said it is considering a legal case to determine if the move complies with employment law. Executives were summoned before a House of Commons committee to explain their actions and subjected to a mauling. There have ...