Ex-Thomas Cook Airlines workers who have failed to find new jobs are facing a “grim” Christmas, a union survey reveals today.

Just 21% of staff are back in full-time permanent employment ten weeks after the collapse of the travel group.

And many who have been re-employed are not earning as much on hours that are far less family friendly, according to the email poll by Unite.

More than 90% of the 290 respondents said they are making cutbacks with just 10% planning to have ‘Christmas as usual’.


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Cuts include less money spent on adult presents (79%), less on children’s presents (53%), on food (63%) and heating their homes (38%).

As a result Unite is calling for the next government to immediately implement the airline insolvency review and the Insolvency and corporate governance review.

The profitable airline would have been allowed to keep flying saving thousands of jobs if both had been implemented prior to the company’s collapse, Unite argues.

The union is also calling for the completion of the Business, Energy Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee report into Thomas Cook’s collapse.

It also wants to see a further inquiry by the transport select committee into the actions of the Department for Transport in its refusal to prevent the collapse of the airline.

The problems faced by many Thomas Cook workers have been exacerbated by difficulties they have had trying to access Universal Credit and or Job Seekers Allowance.

Respondents have recorded how they were told to apply for the wrong benefit, resulting in claims being cancelled and restarted, creating substantial delays on top of the hardship caused by Universal Credit payments in arrears.

In other cases claims were cancelled after workers received some of the money they were owed after the company failed to pay the workforce for September.

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Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “Thomas Cook airline workers are facing a grim Christmas because they were systemically failed by the previous Tory government.

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

“Even the minority of workers who have secured permanent full time work are being paid far less than previously, and working hours that don’t fit as well with their family lives.

“The only positive which can emerge from this pit of human misery is if the next government takes immediate action to implement the airline insolvency review and the insolvency and corporate governance review which would have prevented Thomas Cook’s airline being forced into liquidation.

“Equally, it is vital that not only is the BEIS inquiry into the collapse allowed to complete its work but there is a full investigation into the Department for Transport’s role in the company’s collapse.”

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