Nearly a hundred high street stores are set to close by Hays Travel as part of a “consolidation” of its UK retail business.
The third national lockdown has forced the company, as a major tour operator, to suspend flights and vacations.
Hays Travel is slated to close 89 stores after breaking the rule about stores acquired over a year ago from the failing Thomas Cook.
This affects 388 employees who are offered alternative work.
Jonathon Woodall, Chief Operating Officer, said dtg: “Our first priority is to continue serving our customers and we provide the highest standard of customer service through our retail, telephone and online businesses.
“We are continuing our robust two-year business plan and we remain ready for the rebound when it comes to that.”
Dame Irene Hays, Owner and President of Hays Travel added, “We always intended to review the performance of our stores at the end of the license period. We were hoping business would recover in January and it is not.
“So far we’ve done everything we can to keep jobs and business safe, and we’ve developed a number of options for those at risk of redundancy to help as many colleagues as possible.”
Among other things, employees are given the opportunity to join the homework department at Hays Travel, to work from home or to take on positions in other shops where there is a vacancy.
Last summer, Hays announced that up to 878 jobs would be cut as the pandemic devastated the travel industry.
Hays surprised many in October 2019 when he acquired all of Thomas Cook’s 555 travel agencies across the UK after the 178-year-old company went out of business.
In response to news, the TSSA travel union says it is “a sad but inevitable move” and accuses the government of recklessness.
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of the TSSA said: “Today’s announcement of the closure of 89 Hays Travel stores is a sad but inevitable step. With the coronavirus widespread and the usual January summer vacation not being booked, the travel industry continues to suffer.
“The coronavirus has fundamentally changed the way we live and travel, but the government has acted recklessly. We should have introduced border restrictions and effective tests, track & trace measures last spring if the virus levels could have been checked.
“We are witnessing the death of our loved ones, the death of the high street and the chronic mismanagement of our economy by this conservative government. Lives and livelihoods are lost every day as Tory friends fill their pockets with government contracts. The government must be held responsible for this shameful record. “