Cook confirms 112 closures and seeks voluntary redundancies

Cook confirms 112 closures and seeks voluntary redundancies

Thomas Cook has confirmed it will shut 112 shops from among the 115 outlets identified for closure in December, but there will be fewer redundancies than expected.

The company said one-third of the 661 staff under consultation had been redeployed within the group.

It claimed other staff had found jobs elsewhere in travel. Thomas Cook declined to say how many staff would lose their jobs, but confirmed it was seeking voluntary rather than compulsory redundancies initially.

The TSSA trade union said it was the first time Thomas Cook had sought to restrict redundancies to volunteers.

A 90-day consultation with affected staff ended at the start of this week and the shops will close from mid-April. Staff who have been made redundant are entitled to four weeks’ notice.

A spokeswoman for the company added that it was unable to confirm detailed numbers on the outcome of consultation until it had first updated affected staff.

The original 115 outlets comprised 38 Thomas Cook, 22 Going Places, 47 Co-operative Travel and eight Midlands Co-operative shops. The Cook and Co-op Travel chains merged last October.

When the closures were announced, a Thomas Cook spokeswoman said: “We will look to redeploy as many people as possible. We hope to reduce the number of redundancies significantly.”

The company declined to identify the shops affected, but confirmed three had been reprieved in light of local management proposals. Travel Weekly understands two of the saved outlets are Thomas Cook shops and one is a Co-operative store.

Ian Ailles, Thomas Cook UK mainstream managing director, said in December: “A lot of these shops have been losing money for years.”

The latest confirmed closures take the total since last September to 134. Thomas Cook said at the end of 2011 that it intended to close 200 outlets over two years. The spokeswoman said of the remaining closures: “We don’t anticipate a large number closing at once.”

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