Travel union the TSSA has slammed Thomas Cook for charging staff facing redundancy in Accrington a fee to cancel their holidays booked with the operator.

Thomas Cook has begun a 90 day redundancy consultation with representatives of the call centre’s 260 staff. Work will be transfered  to offices in Peterburgh and Bradford.

Travel industry union the TSSA said the operator was “heartless” for refusing to allow staff to cancel their holidays without incurring a cancellation fee.

TSSA regional organiser Kevin Lucas said: “Accrington staff are going through all the worry of not knowing if they will still have a job in three months’ time. To add insult to  injury the company is refusing to waive cancellation charges for staff who, as a result of threatened job losses, feel the need to cancel their Thomas Cook holiday bookings.

“The company’s attitude is despicable and completely heartless.”

A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “We appreciate that this announcement has come at a time when people have personal circumstances to consider. However, we are undergoing a 90-day consultation process with our employees and, until this is complete, we won’t be in a position to confirm any individual situation.

“In these circumstances, our normal employee policies regarding the cancellation of staff travel concessions still apply. We very much hope that as many of the affected Accrington employees as possible will be able to continue working with us in other roles.”

The move follows Thomas Cook’s merger with MyTravel last year to form the UK’s second largest travel group.