Freedom Direct staff get jobs with north-east rivals

Freedom Direct staff get jobs with north-east rivals

Staff of failed call centre and online agency and operator Freedom Direct are being taken on by rival businesses in the north-east of England.

The Newcastle-based company, which went into voluntary liquidation last Thursday (April 16) employed 109 staff and all have been dismissed.

Dynamic packaging travel agency Holiday Discount Centre, also based in Newcastle, plans to take on around six staff from the company.

Managing director Steve Campion said: "Hopefully there are enough travel businesses in this area for all the staff to find new jobs. We were recruiting anyway so the timing coincided."

Hays Travel is also speaking to Freedom's former employees to work in its homeworking business or retail shops. A spokeswoman could not confirm how many would be taken on.

Other opportunities for the workers include First Choice's Stockton call centre, which currently has 15 permanent and seasonal vacancies.

Meanwhile, recovery specialist RMT is currently in talks with several companies interested in taking over the business and is holding a creditors meeting on May 5 to appoint a liquidator.

RMT blamed the company's failure on its inability to finalise its company accounts on time to renew its ATOL licence at the end of March. As a result it could not take any client money for ATOL-protected bookings from April 1.

Reports have also emerged that company chief executive Martin Jones borrowed £400,000 from the company's accounts to pay for a new house.

The company traded without an ATOL until its collapse, when the Civil Aviation Authority pulled its £750,000 bond.

RMT recovery and insolvency partner Mike Pott said: "RMT initially entered discussions with a number of parties to establish whether Freedom Direct Holidays could continue to operate, renew its bond and retain its workforce.

"We also explored a number of options, including transferring the business to another ATOL licence holder and investigating within the travel industry as to whether any other organisation was able to take the Freedom Direct Holidays business forward. Regrettably, this was not possible due to the time constraints."


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