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Swedish ferry operator Stena Line is planning to lay off 600 employees with 150 redundancies in the UK and the Republic of Ireland due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a decline in demand in Europe. All laid-off employees will receive 80% of their salaries.

The Covid-19 outbreak has led to a decrease in travel bookings and cargo volumes, which is not expected to recover until the next year.

The steps were implemented to ensure that the company cuts costs and to maintain the supply lines of important goods in Europe.

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Stena Line director Ian Hampton said: “The Covid-19 crisis has meant that Stena Line is experiencing a significant decline in passenger and freight volumes across all its 20 European routes. We are having to make some very difficult decisions that we hoped we would never have to make.”

The measures will affect UK and Ireland shore-based and sea-based employees, as well as those who are working on vessels on the Irish Sea and the North Sea.

Hampton added: “In order to secure the continuity of our freight operations, we have no choice but to reduce our costs. We are committed to keeping vital supply lines open for the UK and Ireland.

“Regrettably we must furlough employees on temporary paid leave and make redundancies, as we adjust to this new reality. We will do everything in our means to ensure essential supply lines stay operational during what is a very difficult time for the company and the countries that we serve.”

Last month, Stena Line planned to lay off 950 workers due to the global Covid-19 pandemic that has affected operations.