Hays Travel chair Irene Hays has rebutted criticism levelled at the company for recruiting staff from other agencies to fill its Thomas Cook stores.
The UK’s largest independent agency chain has brought onboard 2,329 ex-Cook agents since taking on the defunct brand’s 555-store retail estate on 9 October.
But just under a fortnight ago, Hays Travel began to recruit from outside the Cook pool – with 206 additional staff employed as of 7 November – “about 75% of which are retail staff”, according to Hays.
Several agency bosses contacted TTG claiming Hays Travel had appealed to their staff – including recently recruited ex-Cook employees – to make the switch.
Hays told TTG Hays Travel had been recruiting exclusively from former Cook workers up until 30 October, but could not rely on filling its vacancies in the same manner with 451 former Cook branches now trading.
“We feel we’ve been very fair in how we’ve gone about things, but we can’t afford to be caught short, and need to make sure our shops aren’t understaffed when we come into January,” said Hays.
“There has been a lot of publicity around our Thomas Cook work, and we do have a strong presence on social media when it comes to recruitment, so we’ve had a lot of people applying.
“We’ve only been taking applications more widely for just over a week and it has already been a very successful drive for us.”
Hays said she had “not received a single email” from disgruntled agency owners, and instead had had messages of “nothing but joy” from the industry.
She added 198 new jobs would also be created at head office, which will need to move to accommodate the influx.
Hays was speaking ahead of Hays Travel’s expanded managers’ conference next week, which will see 775 delegates head to Antalya, Turkey from 12-16 November.