Several hundred Thomas Cook staff descended on Westminster to meet politicians and call for answers about the company’s collapse and to be paid the money they are owed.
Travel agents and airline crew were among those who met leading members of the Labour Party, including shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow chancellor John McDonnell, as well as MPs from the Scottish National Party.
The union Unite is calling for business secretary Andrea Leadsom to ensure all 9,000 Cook staff in the UK are paid the wages they are owed, as well as campaigning for law changes to ensure such a collapse cannot happen again.
Martin Browne, Unite’s lead union rep for Cook’s cabin crew, told TTG: “We spoke to MPs – most of the shadow cabinet came out to support us – and got our message across. I believe they should be pushing for a public inquiry. We need to know who knew what and when.
“We had a few hundred people come along – mainly Thomas Cook staff including travel agents and crew. We’re all in the same boat and we want our answers.
“We were profitable as a group airline and when it all went wrong, the German government helped out Condor with a bridging loan. All we needed was a guarantor and just needed the money we had to be guaranteed. There were five bids on the table to rescue the airline.
“There was a report after Monarch on how to deal with airline insolvency but the government didn’t even look at it and hasn’t implemented any of it.”
Browne, who worked for Thomas Cook Airlines for 21 years and lost his job last week, said he supported calls for Cook’s bosses to appear before MPs on House of Commons select committees to explain the reasons for the collapse.
He said Unite was also helping former Cook staff with completing redundancy forms, giving advice on benefits and organising job fairs.
Unite represented around 1,800 Cook cabin crew in the UK.