October 31, 2019 @ 15:00 by Steven Hugill
A family-run North East travel operator says it has offered work to thousands of former Thomas Cook staff after re-opening three quarters of the collapsed firm’s high street estate.
Hays Travel, which swooped for Thomas Cook’s entire 555 retail portfolio in early October, says it has now offered contracts to more than 2000 staff left without work following the company’s liquidation in September.
Bosses at the Sunderland-headquartered firm say it has also re-opened 413 former Thomas Cook branches.
Hays Travel, which hailed its Thomas Cook move as a “game-changer”, said it hoped to save as many as 2500 UK-wide holiday industry jobs following its deal.
It has since re-opened hundreds of branches across the UK, with the first Hays Travel holiday booked in a former Thomas Cook shop taking place in South Shields’ Denmark Centre outlet.
Referring to its store revival work and recruitment drive, a spokesperson said: “Three weeks after the announcement, 413 branches have opened their doors to customers.
“We are nearly three quarters of the way to opening all 555 of the former Thomas Cook branches.
“We have offered contracts to over 2000 former Thomas Cook staff, who are walking back into their stores for the first time since the collapse on September 23.”
Hays Travel, which is the country’s largest independent travel agent, traces its roots back to a store in Seaham, County Durham.