Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel stores in Barnstaple and Bideford at risk of closure
A MAJOR Travel Agent plans to close almost 200 stores nationwide, putting jobs at risk in Barnstaple and Bideford.
Thomas Cook, which also owns Co-operative Travel and Midlands Co-op Travel, announced today it will close 76 branches of Thomas Cook and 119 Co-operative Travel branches, putting up to 1,000 retail jobs in jeopardy.
There are branches of Thomas Cook on Bideford and Barnstaple High Streets and a branch of Co-operative Travel at Tesco in Whiddon Valley.
Staff at each of the Barnstaple stores said their branches aren't affected, as far as they know. Thomas Cook in Bideford was closed this afternoon, with a recorded message telling customers they should contact Thomas Cook's call centre and a note stuck to the door saying the store is closed on Wednesdays and at lunch times.
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The call centre, in Accrington, will also close under the proposals.
In total 2,500 of Thomas Cook's 15,500 employees will lose their jobs under the proposals.
Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook's CEO, said: "It's never easy to make decisions that impact directly on our people.
"But we owe it to our customers to shape the business effectively and ensure 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 strategy."
Trade Union Usdaw represents more than 1,200 members of staff at Co-operative Travel stores, and says it will take it upon itself to represent all affected members of staff at Thomas Cook too.
Trade Union officer Sharon Ainsworth said: "We were well aware of the challenges Thomas Cook has been facing but the scale and severity of these redundancies will come as a real shock to our members.
"We'll be using the 90-day consultation period to urge the business to look at every possible alternative to redundancy for these hardworking staff.
"Even those who aren't at risk of redundancy are facing the prospect of cuts to their benefits packages. We'll be examining these proposals closely and will defend our members' interests throughout this uncertain time."
- Are you affected by the proposals to close stores? Call the North Devon Journal on 01271 347440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org