Tui has donated £25,000 towards helping former Thomas Cook staff struggling in the wake of its collapse.
The money has been pledged to Abta LifeLine, a charity that supports those in the travel industry who are in need, and which is calling on travel companies to donate £1 per employee to its cause.
“Many of your former colleagues are now relying on food banks,” Abta LifeLine chair Derek Jones (chief executive of Kuoni parent Der Touristik UK) told delegates at the Abta Travel Convention in Tokyo.
“Some [former Cook staff] were single parents, in some instances both in the couple worked at Thomas Cook.
“Some were on maternity leave, some were, or on sick leave. Some were supporting sick members of their family. Some of them had over 40 years’ service working for a company they loved.
“The failure for many loyal, hard-working travel professionals has been devastating.”
LifeLine has responded by providing emergency financial assistance and super market food vouchers for those most in need.
With Citizens Advice in Manchester, it has created a dedicated hotline to give advice on benefits and how people can go about claiming them.
“LifeLine has been swamped with enquiries and applications for help,” added Jones. “Some have found new jobs quickly, but some of those who haven’t may find themselves falling into debt and face losing their homes.
“We’re doing what we can, but we’re a small charity with limited funds and we urgently need to raise more money to continue to provide the support required.”
LifeLine’s convention appeal is that it needs the industry to help support Cook staff.
Based on the number of people who have contacted the charity so far, it predicts it will need to raise about £100,000 just to meet the initial requests for help.
Tui has donated £25,000, with a further £5,000 from Kuoni.
Midcounties Co-op and Classic Collection have also pledged to donate £1 per employee.
“This appeal is directed to all you MDs, CEOs and business owners,” said Jones.
“Please support our appeal by donating whatever you can. £1 per employee is not a lot to ask and it all adds up.”
Those wishing to help are encouraged to contact Jones, Trudie Clements or Alistair Rowland, or anyone at Abta.