Almost 500 jobs are being cut from Thomas Cook in Bradford.
The travel company has announced it is closing its call centre in the city by March next year. 537 are employed at the base in Bradford, with another 113 in Birkenshaw. 69 positions will be created in Birkenshaw, but that will mean 468 jobs are made redundant. An extra 244 roles will be created at the company's sites around the country, which people affected are eligible for.
Thomas Cook is one of the largest employers in the travel industry, with 19,000 people working across the UK business. As part of the previously announced UK turnaround, we have regrettably today advised colleagues in our Bradford office that we’re proposing to close it by March next year, relocating some roles to our other UK sites in Birkenshaw (near Bradford), Peterborough and Falkirk. We’ve made a commitment to improve the profitability of the UK business and today’s announcement is part of this, but what is also key to these proposed changes is the improved service level that will result for our customers. We looked at several options as part of our location strategy review and today's proposal is considered to be the most effective. I'd like to thank our colleagues in our Bradford site for their professionalism as we now enter a period of consultation. As ever, we’re proud that our customers will still always be able to speak to someone in the UK – should they need to - from whenever they call before, during and after their Thomas Cook holiday.
The news comes as unemployment in Bradford has risen by more than 20% in the last year. On top of that, the rate of unemployment is higher than both the regional and national average. The number of people claiming long term unemployment benefit has doubled since April 2011 to its current figure of 4,435.
"This is a sad day for West Yorkshire and the travel industry but sadly a sign of the times, I'd say all the people working there should keep their heads up- quality people will survive and hopefully they'll find redeployment within the firm. There are opportunities out there and the travel industry is not shrinking - just changing."
"I'm devastated by the news it's a real surprise. Can't believe they're doing this as the Bradford site has been open for ages. It's awful for the people who work there. The staff have always been loyal, I'm just really sorry to hear the news and my thoughts go out to those affected."