Hays Travel to cut up to 878 jobs
Hays Travel is to cut up to 878 jobs out of a total workforce of 4,500 people, the firm announced.
The travel company said it has “made every possible effort” to avoid job losses “during these extraordinary and distressing times”.
It was “on track for recovery” when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office stopped advising against all non-essential travel in early July, but the recent decision to reintroduce restrictions for people going to Spain “triggered the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays”.
We have had no choice
Owners John and Irene Hays said: “We are devastated that after all of our efforts and the huge investment we’ve made we now face losing some of our valued employees, through no fault of their own.
“Following the decision to ban travel to Spain and the changes in furlough conditions coming at the same time, we have had no choice.
“We are also devastated for everyone who may lose their job and we will do all we can in consultations to help them, as we focus on retaining as many people as possible and rebuilding consumer confidence through our renowned friendly and knowledgeable customer service.”
Shadow business minister Lucy Powell said the move was “devastating” and called for targeted support for firms struggling during the pandemic.
“The Government’s illogical decision to withdraw furlough support from businesses across the board, regardless of sector or circumstance, is putting so many jobs at risk,” the Labour MP said.
“With forecasts of a 10% unemployment rate and regular mass redundancies, it is clear the Government must urgently target support where it is needed and protect people’s livelihoods.”
Hays surprised many in October 2019 when it said it was taking charge of all of Thomas Cook’s 555 travel agents across the UK, after the 178-year-old firm went out of business.
This prevented thousands of staff from losing their jobs.
Hays said it has had “no significant redundancies in its 40-year existence”.
It is consulting with 344 employees who are training as travel consultants and 534 who work in its foreign exchange division.
Rival firm Tui announced last week it is to close nearly a third of its high street stores in the UK and the Ireland because of the coronavirus pandemic and in response to changes in customer behaviour.
It plans to move 70% of the 900 affected jobs to a new “home-working sales and service team”.