ALMOST double the expected number of voluntary redundancies have been declared by Wightlink.
An expected 40 job losses has climbed to a reported 73 — with more than that number seeking voluntary redundancy or early retirement from the Isle of Wight travel company.
The redundancies are understood to be across the board from admin, tele-sales and terminal staff to crew and a job loss at management level.
Wightlink would not confirm the total figure and the RMT union said, despite the job losses, it continued to press the company to reinstate the night sailings it had cut on all routes, which led to widespread protest.
RMT Wessex regional organiser Mick Tosh said: "I remain hopeful we can get back to the level of service in the future the community wants and deserves."
A Wightlink spokesman said there would be no impact on service as a result of the job losses.
"We are happy to reassure everyone there will be no impact on services, safety or customer care as a result of the higher than expected numbers of staff who asked us for voluntary redundancy," said a spokesman.
"When we made changes to our services at the end of last year, we offered generous voluntary redundancy terms to our staff.
"We indicated around 40 volunteers were sought but, in the end, more staff members applied. We were pleased to be able to help those members of staff realise their ambitions, which ranged from early retirement to new careers and establishing their own businesses."
Wightlink said it needed to make cuts in jobs and sailings to secure the future of its business, pointing to service reductions affecting just two per cent of travellers.
But users said their livelihoods depended on early-morning sailings and social lives were affected by the axing of late-night services.