Union calls for inquiry into handling of Thomas Cook collapse

Calls are growing for a fresh inquiry into the government’s handling of the collapse of the travel firm Thomas Cook after a study suggested most former employees were still out of work.

The Unite union said only about a fifth of the 9,000 people who lost their jobs had found another one more than three months after the company went out of business.

It said most former employees had made cutbacks over Christmas. Many of those who had found another job were earning less than when they worked for Thomas Cook, or were on contracts that were less family-friendly.

The union said the transport select committee should hold an inquiry into how the Department for Transport handled the crisis.

Unite argued that thousands of jobs could have been saved if the airline side of the company had received help to stay in business. Officials said problems faced by former workers had been made worse by problems they had experienced trying to access universal credit or jobseekers’ allowance.

Diana Holland, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said workers had been failed by the previous Conservative government.

“A profitable airline was allowed to collapse into liquidation and then the workers who have paid taxes all their working lives have had to deal with the complex procedures to get what they are owed, and have even been blocked from claiming the benefits they are entitled to,” she said.

“It is vital there is a full investigation into the Department for Transport’s role in the company’s collapse.”

A government spokesman said: “An analysis of Thomas Cook’s financial position, coupled with the government’s belief it should not prop up private airlines or tour operators, resulted in a carefully considered decision being taken to not intervene in the company.

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“We know that losing a job is a distressing time for people and we were ready on day one to help those affected. Our dedicated staff have helped thousands, including fast-tracking applications so people are supported to find new work or training as soon as possible.”


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