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Anxious wait for Thomas Cook staff as 195 high street travel agencies set to close

PUBLISHED: 20:13 06 March 2013 | UPDATED: 20:16 06 March 2013

Thomas Cook, Lowestoft

Thomas Cook, Lowestoft

Archant © 2011

Hundreds of Thomas Cook staff across East Anglia are set to learn whether their jobs are to go as the firm gets set to close 195 high street travel agencies and axe administrative staff.

Around 2,500 jobs are to be axed at the holidays group - 16pc of its 15,500 workforce in the UK and Ireland - which will impact workers across its retail network as well as administrative and managerial jobs are also at risk across its head office in Peterborough.

Thomas Cook, which has already closed 168 stores, said the moves were being made as part of a restructuring, and to slash administration costs.

The ailing firm has three stores in Norwich at St Stephens Street, London Street, and Brigg Street, as well as an outlet at the Tesco in Blue Boar Lane. It also two stores in Great Yarmouth, one in King’s Lynn, Diss, Fakenham, and Lowestoft.

When completed the closures mean it will be left with 874 travel agencies across the UK and Northern Ireland.

It will confirm which stores are due to be closed later this week.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association, which represents employees, said it was “shocked and angry” at the scale of the job losses.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: “This constant policy of slash and burn, with the axing of one in four stores and the loss of jobs, is simply self-defeating.”

But Thomas Cook’s recently appointed UK and Ireland chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said the proposals will help return the group to profitability.

Thomas Cook slumped to a £590m loss in its last financial year and is working on plans to slash costs.

As well as shutting stores, the UK’s second-biggest travel company has trimmed its airline fleet and sold off hotels after it was forced to turn to its banks for an additional £200m of loans in 2011.

Mr Fankhauser said: “It is never easy to make decisions that impact directly on our people, but we also owe it to our customers to operate efficiently and ensure that when they book their holiday with us our administrative costs are as low as possible,” he added.

2 comments

  • It is a sign of the times... It's basic logic as we have record levels of part time working... That means lower incomes for less hours worked and therefore less tax paid to the government... It gets worse as lower paid claim low income benefits as well ... the uk is in big financial trouble as balancing the books as government debt increases every month... Is building up a major issue in years to come... You have to ask yourself how can 650 high paid MPs ... can get the uk into so much mess...?.... Have you got the answer to get the uk going...? .. Someone needs to find out and soon... High paid boffins have not a clue... Can we wait another 10 years...?

    Report this comment

    Lionel

    Thursday, March 7, 2013

  • Something of a DINASOUR. Travel agent really! Brochures, sales consultants, this is the AMAZON and eBay age. Research online Buy it Now. Move with the time or cease to exist its happened to bigger and better companies than this.

    Report this comment

    Paul Morley

    Friday, March 8, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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