Thousands of staff are threatened with redundancy following this week’s surprise £3 billion merger of Thomas Cook and MyTravel.

Employees face an anxious wait to hear about their future within the new Thomas Cook Group as bosses admitted job losses were inevitable.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, which has expressed concern about job loss and reduced consumer choice following the merger, has already held talks with Thomas Cook and is seeking talks with MyTravel. Travel negotiator Rick Justham said: “It’s early days, but we’re committed to defending as many jobs as possible.”

The two groups had meetings with staff this week while awaiting anti-trust and shareholder approval for the deal, expected by June.

Up to £75 million in annual savings are forecast, with the axe falling heaviest on the group’s 19,000 UK employees.

Bringing the UK workforce in line with UK revenue would imply about 9,000 redundancies but the group has played down the impact on jobs.

However, MyTravel UK managing director John Bloodworth, who will head up the UK division, conceded: “I am not trying to sugarcoat it – there will be some job losses and some redundancies.

“It’s obvious we will close some shops but we plan on redeploying as many people in the shops as possible.”

Staff turnover rate in the shops stands at 20%-25% – around 4,000 jobs a year.

Bloodworth added: “It’s feasible we will be able to look after some people. We have a good relationship with employees and do not see this as a major problem.

“If you end up without a job that is very difficult but there are plenty of jobs for people willing to be flexible.”

Few job losses are expected in Germany when the merged group HQ opens in the UK.

Meanwhile, Thomson started its consultation process to make 900 staff redundant on January 22.

Sales director Derek Jones said: “These are difficult times.”

Read a roundup of how commentators responded to the Thomas Cook – MyTravel merger on the Travel Weekly Blog