Thomas Cook to axe 2,500 jobs
STRUGGLING travel agent Thomas Cook is planning to cut jobs across the country.
The budget holiday company - which has stores in Bracknell High Street and Market Place, Wokingham - announced proposals to re-organise the business this afternoon.
More than 2,500 roles are at risk.
It is planning to close 119 of its Co-operative stores, as well as 76 Thomas Cook stores.
A list of affected branches will be disclosed tomorrow, following discussions with employees later today (Wednesday).
UK chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: "It is never easy to make decisions that impact directly on our people, but we also owe it to our customers to shape the business effectively and ensure that, when they book their holiday with us, our administrative costs are as low as possible.
"As we improve and develop our online capabilities, maintaining a strong presence on the High Street is an important part of our omni-channel strategy.
"Even after these changes we will still have one of the largest retail networks in UK travel."
Under the change, its call centre in Accrington, Lancashire, would also close and the management structure within branches, put under the microscope.
Sharon Ainsworth, national officer for Union Usdaw - which represents 1,200 staff across Thomas Cook and the Co-operative - said the union was "well aware" of the challenges the business was facing, but are shocked by the "scale and severity" of the redundancies.
She said: "We will be using the 90-day consultation period to urge the business to look at every possible alternative to redundancy for these hard-working staff. Many of our members are long-serving and I believe they have a lot to offer Thomas Cook in helping the business to build a successful future.
"Even those who are not at risk of redundancy are facing the prospect of cuts to their benefits packages, following a number of cost-cutting proposals which the business has put forward. We will be examining these proposals closely and will defend our members' interests throughout this uncertain time.
"We will be doing all we can to support all of our members during the difficult weeks and months ahead."
Subject to these discussions, the group's UK workforce would be reduced by 2,500 full-time roles, mostly in back-office functions and its retail network.
This article appeared in Bracknell News 06 Mar 13