Holiday company Thomas Cook will axe 2,500 UK jobs and shut 195 shops.
The redundancies - one in six of the workforce - are part of a reshaping of the company to combat the recession and online competition.
Thomas Cook slumped to a £590 million loss in its last financial year and is working on plans to slash costs.
As well as shutting stores, the UK's second-biggest travel company has trimmed its airline fleet and sold off hotels after it was forced to turn to its banks for an additional £200 million of loans in 2011.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association, which represents Thomas Cook employees, said it was "shocked and angry" at the scale of the job losses.
General secretary Manuel Cortes said: "This constant policy of slash and burn, with the axing of one in four stores and the loss of jobs, is simply self-defeating.
"The company needs new products if it to come to come to terms with the age of the internet and prosper in the 21st century.
"That is the only way to stop this spiral of decline which repeated bad management decisions over the past five years has led them."
Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook UK and Ireland’s CEO, said: “Thomas Cook is a much loved brand that needs to make the proposed changes to secure our future and provide continued employment for many thousands across the UK and better meet the needs of our customers going forward.
"It is essential that we operate with the right number of people as we move forward into the next era for our company.
“It is never easy to make decisions that impact directly on our people, but we also owe it to our customers to operate efficiently and ensure that when they book their holiday with us our administrative costs are as low as possible.
“We firmly believe these proposals will mean a better – more profitable – Thomas Cook that continues to be a major employer in the UK and offer the widest range of holidays for travellers and voyagers in the future.
"We are already consulting with our Unions and employee representative bodies to minimise the impact of these changes and I am speaking personally to all employees today to provide information and support through this period of consultation."
Thomas Cook has entered a 90-consultation with some of its UK employees on a three-year programme to "transform its operations".
The consultation will consider plans to:
- Close 195 high street stores, whilst retaining 874 outlets on British high streets
- Place a number of administrative and managerial roles at risk, at Head Offices in Peterborough and Preston, whilst proposing the closure of its Accrington office
- Change some terms and conditions in order to make further efficiencies, thereby safeguarding additional roles
- Thomas Cook currently employees 15,500 people in the UK and it is anticipated that approximately 2,500 full-time roles will go if the proposed changes go ahead.
Holiday firm Thomas Cook today announced plans to axe 2,500 UK jobs and warned of some store closures under a group-wide restructure.
Britons looking to escape to the sun after weeks of miserable weather have lifted holiday bookings at beleaguered travel firm Thomas Cook.
The UK's second biggest travel company said its summer programme was now 88 percent sold after a sales boost in recent weeks following a subdued April and May.
Cumulative bookings in the UK were still down one percent on last year at the end of last month.
The group reported an underlying operating loss of £26.5 million in the three months to June 30th due to tough trading conditions and the cost of acquisitions.
Hundreds of jobs at Thomas Cook in Bradford are to be lost after the travel company announced it is closing its call centre in the city by March next year. 537 people currently work at the Goodwin Street site where 468 jobs are to be axed.
Thomas Cook has warned its shareholders that their failure to back two planned disposals, which include the sale and leaseback of part of its aircraft fleet and the disposal of five Spanish hotels, could lead to the firm going into administration.
In a circular, the tour operator confirmed losses of £262.7 million for the winter, but said it was confident that shareholders would vote for the disposals.
A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: "We fully expect the hotel sale and sale and leaseback to go ahead as planned."