Peterborough MP calls on Government to save jobs at Thomas Cook

The government is being urged by Peterborough's MP to help save jobs at troubled travel giant Thomas Cook.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 5:29 pm
Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes.

Labour MP Lisa Forbes, a former member of staff at Thomas Cook, says she is concerned for the welfare of colleagues at the holiday giant, which it is feared could collapse over the weekend.Ms Forbes said: "Ultimately, it would save the taxpayer money, save thousands of jobs and an iconic British business if the government showed leadership on this issue and demanded the banks support Thomas Cook instead of pushing them towards a cliff edge.

The 178-year- old travel operator, which employs 1,000 people at Westpoint, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, plus 21,000 people across 16 countries, is facing a possible slide into administration after a last minute demand by its leading banks for the company to stump up £200 million.

This is despite the banks being party to an initial agreement on a a £900 million rescue package involving Chinese firm Fosun, which is Thomas Cook's largest shareholder, and which is due to be agreed at meetings next week.

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Tough times for Thomas Cook.

The company says it is talking to everyone possible to raise the £200 million.

But anger is growing as two of the banks - Lloyds and RBS - were themselves bailed out by the taxpayer after the financial collapse in 2008. RBS is still largely state owned.

Ms Forbes said: "I am deeply concerned about the news that Peterborough's Thomas Cook is on the verge of collapse if it cannot find an extra £200m in funding.

"Having worked for Thomas Cook myself, my thoughts are with the 1,000 employees here in the city whose jobs and livelihoods are at risk and the additional 21,000 staff employed worldwide.

She added: "A few months before Christmas, I can't begin to imagine the worry faced by many in the city today.

These are good, hard-working people who deserve better. It is vital that the management are in regular discussions with trade unions and employees on how jobs can be protected and on the state of play financially."

Her comments have been echoed by TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes.

He said: "“Our members are going through a time of great stress and worry over their futures.

"We will, of course, do all we can to help – but what’s needed now is clarity about the future of the Company.

“Thomas Cook must be rescued no matter what.

"This is not just about the threat of losing jobs and an iconic brand from our high streets but the fact that if Thomas Cook goes under, we will be left with just one major travel operator – TUI – controlling the mass market.

“That would be in no-one's interests – a lack of competition will always lead to a hike in prices. If need be the Government must step in to ensure Thomas Cook’s survival.”