Travel agents have raised concerns that the potential loss of 260 jobs at a Thomas Cook call centre could lead to a decline in service.
The company is to close its Accrington call centre, relocating the site’s functions to offices in Peterborough, Bradford and Brighton.
Call centre and operational staff working for the company’s Cresta, Tradewinds and Swiss Travel Service brands were told of the news last week. Thomas Cook admitted the decision could result in up to 260 redundancies, but said it planned to offer relocation or redeployment opportunities, a limited number of which could be in homeworking.
However, agents have raised concerns about service.
Stowaway Travel director Paul Stowe has already expressed concern. He said: “Service has gone out of the window. We will move clients over to where we will get a better service. What’s the point in cutting staff unless it cuts the number of destinations?”
Travel Wallet director Maggie Rogers said: “We do book Thomas Cook group holidays and it’s fine until you get a problem. If support is cut any further and it takes us even longer to get through to them than it does now, we shall just stop booking with them.”
Thomas Cook said the closure was necessary in an “ever-changing and increasingly challenging market” and formed part of its policy to reduce the number of company locations and cut costs. It said there would no impact on day-to-day business and it did not expect a huge drop in the number of call centre staff dealing with agent bookings.
Thomas Cook holidays division executive director Pete Constanti said: “We hope many of them will take advantage of our relocation and redeployment opportunities.”
A spokesman from travel trade union TSSA said: “No one wants to transfer to Peterborough and few want to go to Bradford. This is about getting rid of people in Accrington and not placing them elsewhere. It is about saving £2 million.”
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