Hays Travel has announced consultation plans, with up to 878 staff at risk of redundancy.
It is consulting with 344 staff who are training as travel consultants and 534 who work in the foreign exchange division. Experienced travel sales staff, apprentices and other head office staff are not affected.
John and Irene Hays said in a statement that since February they have made “every possible effort” to protect the jobs of all 4,500 staff, including those who were employed when Hays took on the Thomas Cook shops last October.
They said in early July when the Foreign 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,” they said.
“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 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,” the statement continued.
“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.”
Hays Travel has a 24-month plan in place, which includes a new venture in Glasgow where recruitment for 100 experienced staff for Hays’s tour operation will continue to support the changes to the Hays business model.