Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Bradford Council to put new proposals to Thomas Cook bosses
Another meeting with bosses at travel giant Thomas Cook is being sought by Bradford Council chiefs to put forward ideas to persuade them to rethink plans to close a city centre operations centre.
Bradford Council leader David Green is writing to Cooks seeking a date to discuss as yet undisclosed alternatives to the proposed closure next March of Cooks’ Aldermanbury administration office and call centre, which threatens about 460 jobs.
The beleaguered travel company, which was recently forced to turn to its banks for an additional £200 million of loans, announced the planned closure in June in a bid to cut costs and in connection with the expiry of the Aldermanbury building lease in 2014.
Coun Green said: “Following initial contacts with Thomas Cook, we have been looking at potential ways in which we could assist them to reconsider the current closure plans. Clearly, those alternatives will form the basis of a further meeting with the company to try and save some or all of the Bradford jobs. We’re writing to the company to arrange a suitable date for that meeting.”
Thomas Cook and the TSSA union are currently in a 90-day consultation process about the proposed job losses.
Last week, Peter Crook, chief executive of Bradford-based Provident Financial , said local recruitment for its expanding Vanquis Bank credit card call centre at its Thornton Road HQ – across the road from the Thomas Cook building – meant that some Cook staff could be recruited.
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook said Britons looking to escape to the sun after weeks of miserable weather had lifted holiday bookings. The UK’s second biggest travel company said its summer programme was now 88 per cent sold after a weather-related boost in recent weeks following a subdued April and May.
But cumulative bookings in the UK were still down one per cent on last year as at July 29, although this was unchanged from its last update in May.
The group reported an underlying operating loss of £26.5 million in the three months to June 30 due to tough trading conditions and the cost of acquisitions.
Thomas Cook said demand for its specialist and independent holidays remained strong but sales of its Olympic and Paralympic packages to corporate customers had been challenging.
Cook recently appointed Harriet Green, former boss of Leeds-based electrocomponents distributor Premier Farnell, as its new chief executive. She said she hoped to unveil her vision for the business next spring.
She said: “The group has been through a difficult period, but much has been achieved.”