Thomas Cook has revealed its restructure will affect 902 retail staff across the business, with 115 The Co-operative Travel branches and 80 Thomas Cook stores to close.
The company also confirmed the changes will involve the replacement of some individual store managers with “cluster” managers where several branches are in close proximity. It is likely that where between two and five shops are near each other they will have one manager overseeing all the stores.
The remainder of the 2,500 affected by the job cuts will be in managerial and administrative roles at its premises in Accrington, Peterborough, Preston and Egham.
The cruise businesses run out of Accrington – Cruise Thomas Cook which includes Cumbria Cruise and Co-operative Travel Cruise – will be relocated to Peterborough and Falkirk, Scotland, alongside the support functions for the homeworkers within these brands. There are also plans to increase the number of cruise homeworkers within its existing cruise brands.
A spokeswoman stressed that the closure of the Accrington site, where staff are in a 90-day consultation, did not indicate any downgrading of its cruise operations. Some staff will have the opportunity to relocate or become homeworkers.
Peter Fankhauser, chief executive Thomas Cook UK, said: “By bringing together our cruise activity in existing Thomas Cook UK sites and our homeworker network, we believe the sales, service and financial performance of this part of the company will improve.”
Unions Usdaw and TSSA are planning talks with Thomas Cook within days.
Sharon Ainsworth, national officer of shop workers union Usdaw, said: “We were well aware of the challenges that Thomas Cook have been facing in turning their UK business around, but the scale and severity of these redundancies will come as a real shock to our members.
“We will be using the 90-day consultation period to urge the business to look at every possible alternative to redundancy for these hardworking staff. Many of our members are long-serving and I believe they have a lot to offer Thomas Cook in helping the business to build a successful future. We will be doing all we can to support all of our members during the difficult weeks and months ahead.”
Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA, said: “We are shocked and angry at the scale of the job losses at Thomas Cook which now seems to be engaged in a race to the bottom of the travel market. This constant policy of slash and burn, with the axing of one in four stores and the loss of 1,000 jobs, is simply self defeating.
“The company needs new products if it to come to come to terms with the age of the internet and prosper in the 21st century.”
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