At a time when industries are struggling due to the pandemic, tourism seems to be among the worst hit with big names in the travel sector including British Airways announcing thousands of job losses in the last few months.
Independent British travel giant Hays Travel is the latest organisation to be affected, with nearly 900 jobs at risk.
The company garnered positive publicity in Peterborough and across the UK last year, after it took over Thomas Cook following its collapse.
More than 500 Thomas Cook Travel shops were taken over by Hays, including two in Peterborough which helped save jobs for the city and nearly 2500 jobs in total..
However, the future of the staff is under threat once again, as the owners of Hays say they are struggling and for the first time in 40 years the business will have to make unfortunate redundancies. At this time, the staff in the foreign exchange division are the most likely ones to be impacted.
Peterborough Matters asked company bosses if its presence in the city could be impacted following this decision. We have been told no decision on which regions will be impacted following this announcement has been made yet.
A spokesperson for Hays Travels said: “We are in consultation with foreign exchange consultants and travel academy staff across the country but we don’t have specific data or information regarding individual shops or regions at this time.”
In a statement released to the press owners said they have made every possible effort to protect the jobs of all 4,500 staff.
John and Irene Hays, Co-Owners of Hays Travel said: “In early July, when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s restriction on non-essential travel lifted, the company was on track for recovery and holiday bookings had returned to a workable level.
“However, the non-essential travel ban and quarantine requirements imposed on Spain just nine days ago have triggered the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays.
“There is a very strong latent demand for holidays and we know people will be booking holidays again as soon as they are able to do so. We have our retail staff continuing to look after customers who are rebooking, booking for next year, or requiring refunds, but no work for some sections of the business, and sadly, since the decision to ban travel to Spain, that is no longer sustainable.
“The company has had no significant redundancies in its 40-year existence. We are now consulting with 344 colleagues who are training as travel consultants and 534 who work in the foreign exchange division. Our experienced travel sales staff, apprentices and other head office staff are not affected.
“We are devastated that after all of our efforts and the huge investment we’ve made we now face losing some of our valued employees, through no fault of their own. Following the decision to ban travel to Spain and the changes in furlough conditions coming at the same time, we have had no choice.
“We are also devastated for everyone who may lose their job and we will do all we can in consultations to help them, as we focus on retaining as many people as possible and rebuilding consumer confidence through our renowned friendly and knowledgeable customer service.”
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