Hays Travel ‘devastated’ as it cuts 880 jobs

Photo: AL Robinson / Shutterstock

The travel company that took on many Thomas Cook branches when it went bust last year has announced it is cutting 878 jobs in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Now the UK’s largest independent travel agent, Hays said it has “made every possible effort” to avoid job losses but last month’s decision to reintroduce restrictions for people travelling back from Spain “triggered the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays”.

Owners John and Irene Hays said: “We are devastated that after all of our efforts and the huge investment we’ve made, we now face losing some of our valued employees, through no fault of their own.

“Following the decision to ban travel to Spain and the changes in furlough conditions coming at the same time, we have had no choice.”

Hays, which said it has had “no significant redundancies” in its 40-year history said it is consulting with 344 employees training to be travel consultants and 534 staff in its foreign exchange division.

The Hays added: “We are also devastated for everyone who may lose their job and we will do all we can in consultations to help them, as we focus on retaining as many people as possible and rebuilding consumer confidence through our renowned friendly and knowledgeable customer service.”

Last week German travel giant Tui announced plans to close one in three of its UK high street branches saying it would seek to move 70% of staff affected to home-based sales and services roles, and aim to relocate other employees in the remaining high street stores.

Hays’ job cuts follow this morning’s announcement from DW Sports, the gym operator and sports retailer, that it had appointed BDO as administrators, putting 73 gyms, 75 stores and around 1,700 jobs at risk.

All its stores are to close but it was working with BDO to save as many gyms as possible.

“As a consequence of Covid-19, we found ourselves in a position where we were mandated by government to close down both our retail store portfolio and our gym chain in its entirety for a protracted period, leaving us with a high fixed-cost base and zero income,” chief executive Martin Long said.

“The decision to appoint administrators has not been taken lightly but will give us the best chance to protect viable parts of the business, return them to profitability, and secure as many jobs as possible.”

DW Sports said Fitness First’s 43 gyms, which are part of the same corporate group, are not affected.

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