Hundreds of jobs at risk in Thomas Cook restructure

Hundreds of jobs at risk in Thomas Cook restructure

Thomas Cook has announced it is to close its Bradford call centre by March next year, with nearly 500 jobs at risk.

The company confirmed 468 roles were at risk, with 69 relocated to its other offices in Birkenshaw, which is near Bradford, Peterborough and Falkirk.

A spokesman said 244 "full-time equivalents" would also be created at the other sites.

Ian Ailles, UK mainstream chief excecutive, said: "Thomas Cook is one of the largest employers in the travel industry, with 19,000 people working across the UK business.  As part of the previously announced UK turnaround, we have regrettably today advised colleagues in our Bradford office that we’re proposing to close it by March next year.

“We’ve made a commitment to improve the profitability of the UK business and today’s announcement is part of this, but what is also key to these proposed changes is the improved service level that will result for our customers.

"We looked at several options as part of our location strategy review and today's proposal is considered to be the most effective.  I'd like to thank our colleagues in our Bradford site for their professionalism as we now enter a period of consultation."

Cook's mainstream business currently employs 537 people at Bradford, 252 at Falkirk, 113 at Birkenshaw  and 434 of a total of 1,300 employees at Peterborough

The announcement comes just a week after Cook’s acting chief executive Sam Weihagen confirmed that 1,150 jobs had been axed over the past six months and more were to follow.

Speaking to City analysts as Cook reported a half-year group loss of £643 million, Weihagen said “the optimisation of the estate will go on”.

Job cuts have so far been spread across the business, with 850 in retail and in the merged head office of Cook and The Co-operative Travel, and a further 300 at Thomas Cook Airlines.

Cook announced the appointment of Harriet Green as its new chief executive two weeks ago after an nine-month search prompted by the departure of Manny Fontenla-Novoa last August.

It also secured a new £1.4 billion deal with its banks in May to extend the maturity of its financing until May, 2015.

Ailles this week told the Institute of Travel and Tourism conference in Barbados that he was “bullish” about growth in the UK market, and said he saw signs of customer confidence returning.

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