Kuoni parent Der Touristik UK will utilise government intervention to support all staff through the Covid-19 crisis – including its furloughed worker scheme to immediately save jobs.
Kuoni confirmed 70 head office and retail staff redundancies on Friday (20 March) before the government’s announcement of its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, whereby it will pay 80% of the salaries of those not working but kept on the payroll.
After temporarily closing its Dorking head office and retail stores last night (24 March) the operator has created a virtual call centre to support customers, which will be operated by a core group of Kuoni’s retail staff, working from home.
A “core operational and support team” made up of only those staff needed to maintain the smooth operational running of the business over the coming weeks and months has also been established.
All other staff will be furloughed from 1 April.
Der Touristik UK chief executive Derek Jones described the process as being “a bit like hibernation”.
Those staff will not be required to work and will be paid 80% of their salary with all other contractual terms intact.
Jones confirmed that all staff who left the business last week would immediately be brought back into the business and then furloughed.
Jones added: “Today we’ve set out a number of initiatives which we believe present the best course of action for the coming weeks and months.
“These measures are designed to retain the integrity of our team whilst running the business in a streamlined way. By taking these actions we can see ourselves through this crisis whilst maintaining the opportunity to rebound strongly when the Covid19 crisis is behind us.
“The decision to let valued members of staff go last week was a very difficult one but at the time I believed we were left with little option.
“We immediately took the opportunity alongside Abta and a number of other businesses to lobby the government for additional support to avoid the need for job losses.
“The Chancellor’s lifeline on Friday has meant we can now protect as many of our team as possible. There has not been much to cheer about recently but we can at least be happy that these staff have a little less to worry about for the next few months.”
The company continues to keep its voluntary redundancy offer on the table.
Kuoni leadership team remain in place having volunteered to take pay cuts to steer the business through the crisis and plan ahead to strengthen the brand for the future.