Thousands of Jobs to be saved as Hays Travel buys 555 Thomas Cook stores
The news hit today that Sunderland based Hays Travel has agreed to buy 555 of Thomas Cook's retail stores, offering hundreds of former staff their roles back in the company. They plan to reopen all 555 stores immediately and to recruit 2,500 people as well as a further 100 at their headquarters in Sunderland.
John and Irene Hays, who manage the business had this to say:
"In the last two weeks we have already employed or offered jobs to around 600 former Thomas Cook colleagues, and it has been a very emotional experience for them.
Now that we are able to re-open the shops, we are looking forward to welcoming many more people who share our passion for the travel industry, into our family business.
I’m very proud of the fantastic team who have helped me build Hays Travel over almost 40 years and they have worked tirelessly over the last couple of weeks to bring this about.
It is a game-changer for us, almost trebling the number of shops we have and doubling our workforce - and for the industry, which will get to keep some of its most talented people."
Former Thomas Cook staff responded to the news in tears as they were told that their jobs had been saved, in what is an emotional day for them all.
The total fee agreed by Hays was left undisclosed but is a huge step for the company which currently has 190 shops with 1,900 staff employed.
Thomas Cook collapsed back at the end of September after last-minute attempts to save the company broke down, affecting 22,000 jobs worldwide with 9,000 of those in the UK.
This collapse triggered the biggest repatriation project for the UK, known as "Operation Matterhorn" in which more than 130,000 were brought back to the UK by the government, the operation has now ended with Brits still abroad advised to claim under their ATOL guarantee.