BRITS could face shortages of salad, cheese, fruit and wine after P&O dramatically halted all services yesterday.
The company, which is a major freight carrier between Britain and Europe, sensationally axed 800 workers over Zoom and scrapped services for up to ten days to “locate new crews”.
Now, experts say the lack of ships going between Britain, the EU and Northern Ireland could plunge farmers and supermarkets into chaos.
Stockmen warn there could be shortages of fresh food in shops including salads and fruit from Spain as well as cheese, wine and croissants from France, Daily Mail reports.
And farmers say thousands of sheep may need to be slaughtered if P&O do not restart their services.
They said the company’s boats – which handle 15 per cent of UK freight and a third of all freight in and out of France – were a “lifeline” for the industry.
Shoppers, however, are urged not to panic buy amid the fears.
P&O bosses dramatically halted all services early on Thursday before sensationally firing hundreds of hardworking staff at 11am.
Ferry ports were later plunged into chaos as passengers, workers and lorry drivers had nowhere to go.
Transport minister Robert Courts yesterday told the Commons routes affected by the layoffs included Dover to Calais, Larne to Cairnryan and Dublin to Liverpool.
And Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium Andrew Opie told the Daily Mail: “Retailers are working with other ferry companies to ensure disruption to P&O ferry services do not interfere with the movement of fresh food between GB, NI and EU.
“Nonetheless, a prolonged interruption to P&O services, who are an important part of UK supply chains, could eventually impact the flow of goods.
“We urge the ferry company and union to find a speedy resolution to the current issues.”
Meanwhile, Edward Adamson, a sheep farmer from County Antrim in Northern Ireland, warned he may need to slaughter excess sheep if the ferreis don’t start up again soon.
He said: “There is no route to the UK mainland for us otherwise. We produce more animals than we need you see and we can’t just keep them.
“We just hope it doesn’t last long and will just have to hold on. We can last about three months but then we will have to trade within Northern Ireland and the rest will be slaughtered.
“[The ferry] is a lifeline between Northern Ireland and the mainland.
“When it comes to food it’s much more important.”
P&O employees were ambushed yesterday morning via Zoom and reportedly given just “five minutes to get their stuff and get off the ship”.
Security teams in balaclavas were then drafted in to remove P&O staff — some given just five minutes to gather gear from quarters.
Defiant captain Eugene Favier refused to leave his Pride of Hull ferry in protest and barred cops and security from boarding.
Other workers blocked roads near Hull and Dover as queues of lorries built up.
Passengers were marched off ships, or stopped from boarding, leaving thousands stranded.
No.10 was given no warning, and the PM’s spokesman said the cuts were “wholly unacceptable”.