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03 August 2020 18:45

Thomas Cook Group United Kingdom LON:TCG

Hays Travel is to cut up to 878 jobs out of a total workforce of 4,500

Get our daily coronavirus email newsletter with all the news you need to know direct to your inbox Sign up Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email Hays Travel is to cut up to 878 jobs out of a total workforce of 4,500 people, the firm announced. Hays Travel 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. It's the latest blow to staff working in the UK's travel industry, after Tui said it would close 166 high street outlets last week - putting 900 jobs at risk. Tui managing director Andrew Flintham said: "Customer behaviours have already changed in recent years, with 70% of all Tui UK bookings taking place online. "We believe Covid-19 has only accelerated this change in purchasing habits, with people looking to buy online or wishing to speak with travel experts from the comfort of their own home." 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". 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. Sign up to our daily newsletter The i newsletter cut through the noise Sign up Thanks for signing up! The travel company said it has "made every possible effort" to avoid job losses "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." 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". Sign up to our newsletter for the latest Sunderland news Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email North East-based holiday firm Hays Travel has announced it is slashing hundreds of jobs. The firm has revealed it will cut up to 878 jobs out of a total workforce of 4,500 people. Company bosses have blamed Government changes to the furlough scheme and quarantine rules for holidaymakers for the redundancies.

Founded in 1980 and headquartered in Sunderland, Hays Travel is now the largest independent travel agent in the UK. The company is run by husband and wife John Hays and Irene Hays, the former chief executive of Sunderland City Council. In a joint statement, they 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. The pair were among several leaders in the travel industry to publicly criticise the Government's self-isolation requirements for people returning from holiday. There was hope for a recovery in the sector when a list of countries it was safe to travel to was drawn up in time for summer holiday season, but the news Spain would be removed has sent shockwaves through the industry.

We have done better than most but I think the pandemic has damaged every travel business in the world. "We had hit some small milestones at the start of July and a week ago had got back up to 50% of like-for-like sales, with more people making bookings and booking for later in the year or next year – then the world changed again when the Government brought in the quarantine roles. "All those figures, in terms of new business, are now way less than half what we did a week ago." The Sunderland firm became the UK's largest independent holiday business when they firm acquired the former Thomas Cook retail portfolio of 555 shops and took on its former employees. But, as reported lasr week, accounts for the business for the year ended October 2019 showed that the firm's pre-tax profit including exceptional items was more than halved – from £11.6m to £4.9m – as it took a hit from the acquisition. Hays Travel is to cut up to 878 jobs, the firm has announced. The job losses make up almost 20% of their total workforce of 4,500 people. The travel company said the Government's decision to advise against non-essential travel and reimpose quarantine requirements for holidays to Spain "triggered the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays". Hays took failed holiday company Thomas Cook last year, taking on 2,330 former employees and hiring a further 1,500 to help fill its new stores, and for its headquarters. The family-run travel company bought the 178-year-old tour operator after it fell into liquidation in September. But now they have been forced to cut numbers following the coronavirus pandemic - and the ongoing travel restrictions. 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." 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". Those ads you do see are predominantly from local businesses promoting local services. It is important that we continue to promote these adverts as our local businesses need as much support as possible during these challenging times.