Coronavirus: Kuoni saves jobs with furloughed worker scheme

Kuoni parent company Der Touristik UK is retaining its staff during the coronavirus crisis – including those who left last week – thanks to the government’s furloughed worker scheme.

The business made 70 people redundant last week, in addition to asking employees to take voluntary pay cuts, unpaid leave and voluntary redundancy.

Derek Jones (pictured), chief executive, has confirmed that “all valued staff who left the business last week would immediately be brought back into the business and then furloughed”.

A new virtual call centre will be set up today (March 24) to support customers, which will be operated by a core group of Kuoni’s retail staff, working from home.

A core operational and support team made up of only those staff needed to maintain the smooth operational running of the business over the coming weeks and months has also been established.

Apart from the core team, all other staff will be furloughed from April 1.

Jones described the process as being “a bit like hibernation”.

Those staff will not be required to work and will be paid 80% of their salary with all other contractual terms intact.

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He said in a letter to staff: “We’ve set out a number of initiatives which we believe present the best course of action for the coming weeks and months.

“These measures are designed to retain the integrity of our team whilst running the business in a streamlined way.

“By taking these actions we can see ourselves through this crisis whilst maintaining the opportunity to rebound strongly when the Covid-19 crisis is behind us.

“The decision to let valued members of staff go last week was a very difficult one but at the time I believed we were left with little option.

“We immediately took the opportunity alongside Abta and a number of other businesses to lobby the government for additional support to avoid the need for job losses.

“The chancellor’s lifeline on Friday has meant we can now protect as many of our team as possible.

“There has not been much to cheer about recently but we can at least be happy that these staff have a little less to worry about for the next few months.”

The company continues to keep its voluntary redundancy offer on the table and bosses have volunteered to take pay cuts.

Jones tweeted as he left the office last night: “Time to say a temporary goodbye to this place…and tomorrow we’ll ask our store staff to work from home too. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our team.

“Never been prouder to or more privileged to lead this amazing team! #kuoni #wegotthis”

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