Thomas Cook slammed for ‘despicable’ attitude to staff who cancel holidays

Travel agency Thomas Cook has been branded ‘despicable and heartless’ for charging its employees cancellation fees for holidays they booked through the firm but can no longer take due to the threat of redundancy.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), which represents travel staff, made the accusation after Thomas Cook refused to allow up to 260 members of staff facing the chop to cancel trips without incurring a fee.

Kevin Lucas, TSSA regional organiser, told Personnel Today: “We’ve had serious concerns from the beginning of the process. Thomas Cook made almost 4,000 redundancies last year, so it’s no stranger to this process.

“It’s attitude is despicable and completely heartless for refusing to waive cancellation charges for staff who, as a result of threatened job losses, feel the need to cancel their Thomas Cook holiday bookings.”

Two departments at Thomas Cook’s Accrington office, acquired in a merger with MyTravel last year, are being investigated as part of a 90-day redundancy consultation. The employer will transfer some of the 260 employees to offices in Peterborough and Bradford, and will allow a small number of staff to work from home.

A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook refused to discuss measures used by the HR department during the process, but confirmed that staff wouldn’t be treated any differently than under regular employment.

“In these circumstances, our normal employee policies regarding the cancellation of staff travel concessions still apply,” she said. The total number of employees who have booked holidays through Thomas Cook is unknown.

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