Thomas Cook does away with 500 jobs

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on December 2, 2010

As the UK’s largest tour operator, even Thomas Cook is not immune to the uncertain economic climate plaguing the country’s tourism sector.

With uncertain market conditions ahead, the popular package travel agency is being forced to cut 500 jobs as it looks to reduce operating costs by £40m to £50m. According to the tour company, as the market conditions continue to improve, it is still uncertain how tourism will fare amidst difficult financial times.

Along with cutting back jobs in its management and support legs of the company, Thomas Cook is also renegotiating contracts to save money with its suppliers and integrating a new computer system for better efficiency.

Thomas Cook boss, Manny Fontenla-Novoa said that jobs cuts were not likely to affect those workers in storefronts or booking centres. He added that until September, though, the firm has experienced one of its worst financial years ever. According to Mr Fontenla-Novoa, the economic climate coupled with the World Cup overseas and the volcanic ash incident had threatened the travel sector at home.

Currently, there are 13,000 Thomas Cook staff working in the UK, which jumps to 15,000 during the summer as travel increases. However, Thomas Cook did add that market conditions remained uncertain, but current trends in the sector were encouraging.

The group posted operating profit losses of almost six per cent falling to £391m for the year. Thomas Cook was forced to decrease its offering in winter holidays as UK demand dropped with the recession.

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