Travel 2 staff have branded proposals to close the operator’s Glasgow office "an injustice" among a range of criticisms of parent dnata Travel Group’s decision to restructure the business.
In a letter sent to TTG, the group of around 180 employees said they doubted agents loyal to the much-loved B2B brand, which dnata is proposing to merge with Gold Medal, would switch their sales over to the sister brand.
A spokesperson for the group also told TTG the local MP and MSP for Travel 2’s central Glasgow base had been contacted for help ahead of a formal consultation, understood to be starting on 1 July.
Under dnata’s restructuring plans announced on 18 June, Gold Medal and Travel 2 would combine functions under the single brand entity of Gold Medal, with operations moved to dnata’s Leyland office.
Revealing the proposals at the time, dnata Travel Group chief executive John Bevan said the coronavirus crisis had forced dnata to “accelerate” the implementation of the findings of its strategic business review, launched late last year, and in some parts of the business "actually go even further".
However, in their letter, staff questioned why Travel 2, which they describe as a “more efficient and cost effectively-run business” was being “sacrificed”, claiming the financial impact of Thomas Cook’s collapse on Gold Medal had prompted dnata to cut costs and alleging the downsizing move was decided pre-Covid.
In response, Gold Medal and Travel 2 managing director Lisa McAuley said the “massive impact” of Covid-19 on both brands had “regrettably” forced dnata to act, and insisted Covid was the company’s “primary driver” and not the collapse of Cook.
McAuley restressed dnata’s “longstanding” commitment to its Glasgow team, revealing that as recently as February, the company had invested in training and technology for Scotland-based staff, and was discussing an office renovation.
“Closure of the Glasgow office was not a consideration prior to the current crisis, but that it is now underscores the profound impact Covid-19 has had,” she said, highlighting that current plans would see the creation of some homeworking roles for Travel 2 staff.
McAuley also said she understood the employees’ anger, and reiterated dnata was committed to working “openly and honestly” throughout the consultation process.
“None of the proposals presented [on 18 June] are being considered lightly, but circumstances leave us with no option but to do so," she added. "Our priority is now to ensure the process is conducted fairly and without prejudice."