Thomas Cook sheds 2,500 UK posts - jobs threat for branches in Newport, Cwmbran, Ebbw Vale, Monmouth and Caerphilly
THE jobs of Thomas Cook employees in Gwent stores could be under threat as the company has announced to cut 2,500 jobs in the UK.
The travel group has said it will close almost 200 stores and axe 2,500 jobs in an attempt to revive its profitability, but has not yet revealed which stores will be closing.
There are nine branches of Thomas Cook in Gwent including in Newport, Cwmbran, Ebbw Vale, Monmouth and Caerphilly.
A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said most of the job losses will come from its "back-office functions and its retail network."
The company said it would now start a 90-day consultation process with its employees as part of the next phase of its three-year programme to transform business operations.
For the last financial year to September, the firm reported pre-tax losses of £485.3 million.
Thomas Cook blamed the loss on a "difficult trading environment" and higher fuel costs, and it has already closed 149 stores.
Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook’s CEO, said: "It is never easy to make decisions that impact directly on our people, but we also owe it to our customers to shape the business effectively and ensure that, when they book their holiday with us, our administrative costs are as low as possible.
"As we improve and develop our online capabilities, maintaining a strong presence on the high street is an important part of our strategy. Even after these changes we will still have one of the largest retail networks in UK travel."
Thomas Cook currently has 1,069 stores open and plans to close 195 high street stores, cutting about 16 per cent of its workforce, focusing on posts at its head offices in Peterborough and Preston and the complete closure of its Accrington office.
It employs 15,500 people in the UK currently.
Shopworkers’ Union Usdaw said it is going to meet with the holiday firm to discuss the restructure.
National Officer Sharon Ainsworth said: "We were well aware of the challenges that Thomas Cook have been facing in turning their UK business around, but the scale and severity of these redundancies will come as a real shock to our members.
"We will be using the 90-day consultation period to urge the business to look at every possible alternative to redundancy for these hardworking staff."