Swedish unions have reacted with disappointment to the announcement that Swedish ferry company Tallink Silja AB plans to cut all approximately 500 Swedish jobs on board the vessels Silja Symphony and Silja Galaxy, which operate between Finland and Sweden.
Of these job cuts, some 130 are officer roles.
Tallink Silja is part of Estonia's Tallink Grupp AS. Unions have been negotiating with the company for weeks to try to find a way of avoiding redundancies.
Seko Seafarers president Kenny Reinhold told Telegraph he was disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
'It's hard to be angry at the company, as it is suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic,' he said. 'Of course, we are very disappointed that they are taking these measures, but on the other hand we know it's terrible if you aren't getting paid some of your salary. It's a very hard situation.
'It's hard to be angry but I am a bit angry. I'm more angry at the virus that's turned the world upside down.'
The Maritime Officers' Association (MOA) said it had hoped for an agreement on reduced working hours and a pay cut instead. Lennart Jonsson, who had joined the negotiations for the union, said it was a shame the company had decided to announce redundancies despite weeks of effort.
Mr Jonsson said one of the key issues is uncertainty over the Swedish government's support package for short-term layoffs, which stops at the end of November.
Tallink Silja AB has now called the unions in for formal negotiations but says it will continue to press the government to extend short-term layoffs.
Marcus Risberg, CEO of Tallink Silja AB, said: 'In recent weeks, we have worked hard to persuade the government to extend the possibility of short-term layoffs, so that we can cope with overcoming the extremely challenging situation we have been in since March. Short-term layoffs, combined with a fair amount of traffic on Galaxy and some weekend traffic when given the opportunity on Symphony, could have given us the opportunity to hold on and persevere. At present, however, we have no signals from the government about an extension of the support. We have not given up, and we are currently preparing more initiatives and even stronger advocacy work to put pressure on the government.'