Hundreds of jobs likely to go as Thomas Cook to shut Bradford office


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The Independent Online

Struggling travel firm Thomas Cook is closing one of its regional offices with hundreds of jobs likely to go.

The firm said the office in Bradford, West Yorkshire, employs 537 people but stressed some roles will be relocated to other offices.

Unions said the move was a scandal and blamed the job losses on former chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa, saying their members "are going to pay the price of that mismanagement with their jobs".

In a statement, Ian Ailles, chief executive Mainstream at Thomas Cook UK & Ireland, said, "Thomas Cook is one of the largest employers in the travel industry, with 19,000 people working across the UK business.

"As part of the previously announced UK turnaround, we have regrettably today advised colleagues in our Bradford office that we're proposing to close it by March next year, relocating some roles to our other UK sites in Birkenshaw (near Bradford), Peterborough and Falkirk.

"We've made a commitment to improve the profitability of the UK business and today's announcement is part of this, but what is also key to these proposed changes is the improved service level that will result for our customers.

"We looked at several options as part of our location strategy review and today's proposal is considered to be the most effective.

"I'd like to thank our colleagues in our Bradford site for their professionalism as we now enter a period of consultation.

"As ever, we're proud that our customers will still always be able to speak to someone in the UK - should they need to - from whenever they call before, during and after their Thomas Cook holiday."

Thomas Cook said its Mainstream business currently employs 537 people at Bradford, 252 at Falkirk, 113 at Birkenshaw and 434 people at Peterborough.

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA travel union, said: "Thomas Cook is largely in the mess it is because of the mismanagement of former chief executive Manny Fontenla, who was paid an astonishing £15 million for driving the company towards the very edge of the cliff.

"Now hundreds of our members are going to pay the price of that mismanagement with their jobs while he has ridden off into the sunset with all the loot.

"It is a scandal."