Thomas Cook employees receive a lifeline

By Robin Van Acker | October 9, 2019

Hays Travel takes on Thomas Cook employees

Following the financial collapse of Travel firm Thomas Cook (TC) on September 23rd, an estimated 9,000 TC employees lost their jobs. Around 600 of these have bagged themselves another job already thanks to northern travel company Hays Travel. And a further 1900 ex-Thomas Cook workers are expected to be taken on by Hays in the coming weeks and months. 100 of the jobs are expected to be at Hays Travel Headquarters in Sunderland. The remaining posts will be in shops around the UK.

Hays Travel and Thomas Cook agree Deal

It was announced today that a deal has been agreed between these two companies. Some of the 2500 ex-Thomas Cook workers to be taken on by Hays may even see themselves back in shops they were in before. With the difference of being branded The Hays’ Travel Company way! Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) financial services is working with Hays Travel and landlords over the business deal involving the transition of 555 Thomas Cook stores.

Who are Hays Travel?

John Hays opened the first Hays travel shop in 1980 at the back of his mum’s children’s wear shop in Seaham, County Durham. He earned £812 in his first year and has come a long way since. Hays Travel now occupies 190 UK shops and employs 1900 staff.  When Hays travel recently made it’s first billion, £1 million was shared between the employees. Staff were given £100 for each year they worked there.


John is married Irene to Irene Hays, who chairs the company and owns half with her husband. Her main job however is as Chief Executive of not one, but two city councils: Sunderland and South Tyneside. In November 2018, she received a lifetime achievement award from the business community of the North-East of England, who she has worked closely with.  John has worked hard to achieve his entrepreneurial status in a very competitive industry. Find out more about John Hays as a person and how he built the business he has today. His journey along the way hasn’t always been easy. This video is an interesting watch for any aspiring business person!

Travel Career Development

Hays Travel prides itself as being a great place to work and to develop a career. Directly after the collapse of Thomas Cook, Hays offered to help all Thomas Cook apprentices finish their training at their Ofsted accredited school. Irene Hays referenced Thomas Cook employees when she said “We will build on the good things Thomas Cook had-not least it’s people and that will put us in even better stead for the future.”

The Future Thomas Cook Staff

So, happy news for some of Thomas Cook’s ex-workers and good news for the UK’s ailing high street. But what’s the future looking like for the rest of TC’s staff? Some have managed to find new jobs even if they are zero hours contract. Others are relying on friends and family to see them through hard times. Unfortunately, some are simply defaulting on their mortgage payments and other direct debits and visiting food banks.

Kindness Still Prevails 

Ex-Thomas Cook staff have been touched by the kindness of others since their employees went bust. Florists have been sending out free bouquets of flowers, hairdressers have been giving hair-cuts. Gyms have been offering free work-outs. And there is such a thing as a free lunch because restaurants have been seeing to that. While there is still no happy ending for everyone, many have been touched by human kindness in the aftermath of the Thomas Cook financial disaster. Considering around 21,000 people have been directly affected, it will take along while before everyone is back on their feet.

Thomas Cook Customers Did you know you can now make a claim?

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