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Union calls for inquiry into Government handling of Thomas Cook collapse

Most former employees of the travel company remain out of work, Unite said.

People outside the Peterborough headquarters of tour operator Thomas Cook (Joe Giddens/PA)
People outside the Peterborough headquarters of tour operator Thomas Cook (Joe Giddens/PA)

By Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent

Calls are being stepped up for a fresh inquiry into the previous government’s handling of the collapse of travel giant Thomas Cook after a study suggested most former employees are still out of work.

Unite said only around a fifth of the company’s ex-workers had found another job, more than three months after it went out of business.

The union said most former Thomas Cook employees had made cutbacks over Christmas.

Many of those who have found another job are earning less than when they worked for Thomas Cook, or were on contracts which were less family friendly, Unite said.

The union said the Transport Select Committee should hold an inquiry into how the Department for Transport handled the crisis.

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An information notice displayed at Manchester Airport as Thomas Cook ceased trading (Peter Byrne/PA)

Unite argued that thousands of jobs could have been saved if the airline side of the company had been helped to keep in business.

Officials said problems faced by former workers had been worsened by problems they have experienced trying to access Universal Credit or Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Unite’s assistant general secretary Diana Holland said workers had been “failed” by the previous Conservative government.

“A profitable airline was allowed to collapse into liquidation and then the workers who have paid taxes all their working lives have had to deal with the complex procedures to get what they are owed and have even been blocked from claiming the benefits they are entitled to,” she said.

“Even the minority of workers who have secured permanent full-time work are being paid far less than previously, and working hours that don’t fit as well with their family lives.

“It is vital there is a full investigation into the Department for Transport’s role in the company’s collapse.”

A Government spokesman said: “An analysis of Thomas Cook’s financial position, coupled with the government’s belief it should not prop up private airlines or tour operators, resulted in a carefully considered decision being taken to not intervene in the company.

“We know that losing a job is a distressing time for people and we were ready on day one to help those affected.

“Our dedicated staff have helped thousands, including fast-tracking applications so people are supported to find new work or training as soon as possible.”

PA

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