Peterborough based Holiday firm Thomas Cook, today announced plans to axe 2,500 jobs in the UK and warned of a further wave of store closures under a group-wide restructure.
The firm is part way through a root and branch review of its UK business following a disastrous year in which it made a pre-tax loss of £398m in the 12 months to September, compared to a £40m profit a year earlier.
Thomas Cook had already planned to shut 75 of its 1,300 travel stores following its merger with the Co-op's UK high street travel business. A move that has not been universally welcomed and has led to the Co-Op revising its future trading position.
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Information released to the London Stock Exchange
UK Business Transformation Update
As part of its ongoing Business Transformation, Thomas Cook Group plc today began a consultation process to restructure its UK business.
Subject to that consultation, this process would see the Group's UK workforce reduced by 2500 full-time roles, mostly in back-office functions and its retail network, including some store closures. The Group currently employs 15,500 across the UK & Ireland. The cost benefit of these changes, and the costs of achieving them, have already been included in the cost-out numbers previously announced.
Peter Fankhauser, CEO Continental Europe & UK, commented:
"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.
It is essential that we operate with the right number of people as we move forward into the next era for our company, allowing us to meet the future needs of our customers more effectively. These proposals will mean a stronger Thomas Cook that continues to be a major employer in the UK dedicated to providing excellent holiday experiences to our 23 million customers. We are in consultation with our Unions and employee representative bodies to minimise the impact of these changes and I am speaking personally to all employees today to provide information and support through this period of consultation."
The announcement ironically comes just minutes after Peterborough City Council Leader Marco Cereste claimed on television news, the City had added 4,000 jobs - admittedly many short term, part time and minimum wage posts included. The Council meets in full session this evening at 7pM to pass a "Slash 'n' Burn Budget, and a sharp deterioration in council led services.
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