Thousands of Co-op and Cook staff to be moved to new employer

The merger of Thomas Cook, The Co-operative Travel and Midlands Co-operative will see more than 9,000 staff transfer to a new employer.

Neither the Co-operative Group nor Thomas Cook would give any details.

But speaking at the end of July, former Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa said Co-op staff would transfer to Thomas Cook.

He told Travel Weekly: “People will work for Thomas Cook. People will book with Thomas Cook or the Co-op.”

However, Travel Weekly understands all staff – including Thomas Cook retail employees – will move to a new employing entity majority-owned by Thomas Cook.

Up to 6,000 Thomas Cook staff, 2,900 at The Co-operative Travel and about 845 at Midlands Co-operative will transfer.

The transfer process will begin when the merger is completed – probably within six weeks.

It is unclear whether staff will go through a formal consultation, but that appears likely, meaning staff would move under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations.

Shopworkers’ union Usdaw – which represents 1,000 Co-op staff – welcomed the merger despite the companies setting aside £13 million for redundancy payments.

Usdaw national officer Sharon Ainsworth said: “The joint venture provides the best opportunity to secure the long-term future of the Co-operative’s travel businesses and high street presence.”

Tony Wheeler, travel officer at the TSSA transport union that represents Thomas Cook staff, said: “We’ve been given some assurances Thomas Cook is not looking to close shops, but we presume that may be an issue. We would like to see Thomas Cook make a statement promising no compulsory redundancies.”

Ainsworth said: “Our priority remains safeguarding as many jobs as possible.”

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