Thomas Cook set to axe 2,500 jobs
Around 2,500 jobs are to be axed at holidays group Thomas Cook after it revealed plans to close 195 of its high street travel agencies.
The job losses - 16% of its 15,500 workforce in the UK and Ireland - will impact workers across its retail network as well as administration and back-office staff. Thomas Cook said the moves were being made as part of a restructuring and to slash administration costs.
Having recently shut 168 stores, Thomas Cook will be left with 874 travel agencies across the UK and Northern Ireland.
Thomas Cook is also planning to shut its Accrington office in the North West in a move impacting around 100 roles.
Administrative and managerial jobs are also at risk across its head office in Peterborough and its Preston site. Thomas Cook also has offices in Egham in Surrey, Brighton, and Birkenshaw in West Yorkshire.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association, which represents employees, said it was "shocked and angry" at the scale of the job losses.
General secretary Manuel Cortes said: "This constant policy of slash and burn, with the axing of one in four stores and the loss of jobs, is simply self-defeating. The company needs new products if it is to come to terms with the age of the internet and prosper in the 21st century.
"That is the only way to stop this spiral of decline which repeated bad management decisions over the past five years has led them."
But Thomas Cook's recently appointed UK and Ireland chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said the proposals will help return the group to profitability. Thomas Cook slumped to a £590 million loss in its last financial year and is working on plans to slash costs.
As well as shutting stores, the UK's second-biggest travel company has trimmed its airline fleet and sold off hotels after it was forced to turn to its banks for an additional £200 million of loans in 2011.