Comment: Travel Weekly says

Wage shame affects us all

I MAKE no apology of returning to the issue of fair pay with the shocking stats out this week that travel agent staff are among the worst paid in the country. Many are on no more than the national minimum wage.

In real terms some travel sector salaries are actually going down rather than up and those lucky enough to get a pay rise this year may find it is not even in line with inflation.

richard siddle 030306There are, thankfully, exceptions to the rule with Thomas Cook giving staff a 3% rise from next month and starting agency staff on a salary of at least £10,000.

But even that lags well behind what people can earn in other high-street retailers.

A cashier, for example, in a local Budgens convenience store can expect to take home £11,000 for just bar-coding veg and stacking shelves.

They are not being asked to package long-haul trips worth thousands of pounds or get to grips with complicated bonding requirements.

Staff pay will forever be linked to the financial success of the company they work for and clearly some travel companies are working to tighter margins than others.

But the fact two-thirds of agency staff cite low pay as the main reason they would leave the sector is a major worry for the industry.

Travel Weekly is introducing a new initiative today, “Are you getting a fair deal?”, to highlight the issue of pay and terms and conditions within the travel industry.

We want to hear from employers and employees on this sensitive issue and play our part in leading the debate on how travel can be as competitive as any other in retailing.

Sun uprising

THANKS to everyone who has taken the time to sign our petition against The Sun’s claims the travel industry unfairly hikes up summer holiday prices.

The issue has clearly touched a nerve. It has also highlighted how agents are increasingly using their own devices, mainly through dynamic packaging, to offer cheaper peaktime alternatives to the deals that so enraged The Sun.

Keep your petitions coming. We need to leave Wapping in no doubt how the travel industry feels.

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