RED Funnel will cut nearly 40 jobs following a "prolonged downturn" in passenger and vehicle crossings over the peak summer period.

The firm said up to 50 roles across its head office, support, and operation functions will be placed at risk, while 12 new roles will be created.

Red Funnel currently employs 508 staff members in the Isle of Wight and Southampton.

Chief Executive Officer, Fran Collins, said: “It is our priority to protect as many jobs as possible while ensuring our vital travel link is in a strong position to continue delivering high levels of customer services and that we continue to support the Island as we have done for the last 160 years. 

“Adapting to seasonal differences in operating timetables is something we’re used to doing but it’s clear that COVID-19 has had a far bigger and more sustained impact than we anticipated. While the easing of travel restrictions has seen a recent increase in demand, the effects of the pandemic will continue to impact travel patterns for the foreseeable future.

“Our people are the absolute heart of our business and my Red Funnel colleagues are among some of the most dedicated that I’ve worked with in my career, and that makes this message incredibly difficult to deliver.

“This is a situation we have tried very hard to avoid, but we are committed to serving the Isle of Wight as we support our colleagues through this very difficult time.”

“We are fully committed to serving the Isle of Wight community and maintaining our day-to-day operations. This process will not affect our published timetables or frequency of service and will not affect our ongoing commitment to staff and passenger safety.”