Scots holiday company Barrhead Travel has announced plans to hire hundreds of former Thomas Cook staff and open 100 new stores.
The company yesterday revealed it was already recruiting dozens of staff left jobless when its rival collapsed two weeks ago.
Mike Batt, chairman of Travel Leaders Group, which owns Barrhead Travel, said: ‘We want to welcome many of the Thomas Cook staff to the Barrhead Travel family and quickly get them back to business.’
Scots holiday company Barrhead Travel has announced plans to hire hundreds of former Thomas Cook staff and open 100 new stores
The company confirmed it has so far recruited around 30 former Thomas Cook workers.
It comes after Sunderland based Hays Travel said it could save up to 2,500 Thomas Cook jobs after buying the collapsed firm’s 555 stores.
The company plans to reopen the shops immediately and has taken on 494 former Thomas Cook employees. It promised to employ hundreds more in the coming weeks.
Mr Batt said Barrhead Travel supported the move made by Hays Travel.
He added: ‘It’s a very bold move and we think that’s very good for the industry and, most importantly, it’s good for customers and great for the staff.
‘We were very saddened to see those doors close and the staff lose their jobs. Now, hopefully, between Hays Travel and people like ourselves and the rest of the travel agency community, we’re hoping that all those jobs will get replaced.
‘It’s a great business to be in. You go to work every day dealing with people’s dreams.’
Thomas Cook collapsed two weeks ago with the loss of 21,000 Cook staff globally
Mr Batt said this was an opportunity to expand the scope of Barrhead Travel, as Thomas Cook closures had left gaps in the high street. He added: ‘Where their stores are, that market is now underserved. There’s a lot of people who enjoy using a travel agency. They don’t want to book vacations online; they don’t want to book complicated itineraries online.’
Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said the company had received messages of thanks from former Thomas Cook employees. She added: ‘The staff are very relieved and very grateful that we’re giving them this opportunity to be re-employed again. They’re absolutely delighted.
‘We are looking forward to opening more Barrhead stores and helping our colleagues across the industry get back to serving their loyal clients.
Sunderland based Hays Travel has also stepped in and said it could save up to 2,500 Thomas Cook jobs after buying the collapsed firm’s 555 stores. John Hays, Founder and Managing director, and Irene Hays, Chair of Hays Travel Group, pictured at their HQ in Sunderland
‘The high street travel agency is very much alive in the UK and is pivotal in today’s holiday booking journey.’
Unite Assistant General Secretary Diana Holland said: ‘Given the latest developments, it is clear that the Government’s assessment that providing any financial assistance would risk “throwing good money after bad” has been proven to be entirely false. The Government should look again at the UK Thomas Cook airline and call a halt to the insolvency process.
‘This would then allow there to be a proper and thorough examination of what action can be taken to find employment opportunities for Thomas Cook’s airline staff.’
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, which represents Thomas Cook workers, said he hoped to arrange a meeting with Barrhead Travel to discuss ‘positive working arrangements’ across all stores.
He added: ‘Our union will be keen to know more about the offer to our members – as job security will be foremost in their minds.’
About 21,000 Thomas Cook staff globally lost their jobs when the company went under, including 9,000 in the UK.