Belfast Telegraph

Thomas Cook allays staff fears over downsizing

A Tour operator has said Northern Ireland jobs should be safe, despite potential cuts.

Thomas Cook has warned of redundancies as it looks to make "substantial" cost savings across its UK business.

A spokeswoman told the Belfast Telegraph that all Northern Ireland workers are employed in its shops and that cuts "would not affect staff in shops".

The group confirmed it was reviewing its UK workforce of between 13,000 and 15,000 staff, as well as its supplier base and all divisions in the UK arm.

Thomas Cook, which will announce the results of its review in December, said the moves will help combat uncertain economic conditions ahead of the public spending cuts.

It has also been hit by an unexpected £10m profits blow due to aircraft disruption throughout August and September.

Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa confirmed there would be job losses, but said it was too early to reveal numbers.

He said: "The review is looking at everything from the bottom up and top down.

"Of course that includes staff, but also suppliers and our overhead structures."

The past year has been the toughest ever seen by the group as anxious Britons have opted to stay at home.

British tour operators have suffered from consumer caution this year, as well as good early summer weather, the World Cup and disruption from Iceland's volcanic ash cloud.

Thomas Cook's woes were compounded by technical difficulties among its 100-strong aircraft fleet during the peak August holiday season, which it said would hit operating profits by around £10m.

Summer bookings fell 2% in the last four weeks and the group is planning for flat capacity in 2011 as it prepares for another difficult year.