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Hays Travel to cut up to 878 jobs

By Jordan Reynolds | Shrewsbury | Business | Published:

Hays Travel is to cut up to 878 jobs out of a total workforce of 4,500 people, the firm has announced.

The travel company said it has "made every possible effort" to avoid job losses "during these extraordinary and distressing times".

It has stores in Wolverhampton, Oldbury, Merry Hill Shopping Centre, Aldridge, Rugeley, Stafford, Shrewsbury, Whitchurch, Oswestry, Wrexham, Sutton Coldfield and Longbridge.

It is not yet known if employees at local stores will be affected.

The firm said it had been "on track for recovery" when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office stopped advising against all non-essential travel in early July, but the recent decision to reintroduce restrictions for people going to Spain "triggered the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays".

Owners John and Irene Hays said: "We are devastated that after all of our efforts and the huge investment we've made we now face losing some of our valued employees, through no fault of their own.

"Following the decision to ban travel to Spain and the changes in furlough conditions coming at the same time, we have had no choice.

"We are also devastated for everyone who may lose their job and we will do all we can in consultations to help them, as we focus on retaining as many people as possible and rebuilding consumer confidence through our renowned friendly and knowledgeable customer service."

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Hays surprised many in October 2019 when it said it was taking charge of all of Thomas Cook's 555 travel agents across the UK, after the 178-year-old firm went out of business.

This prevented thousands of staff from losing their jobs.

Hays said it has had "no significant redundancies in its 40-year existence".

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It is consulting with 344 employees who are training as travel consultants and 534 who work in its foreign exchange division.

Rival firm Tui announced last week it is to close nearly a third of its high street stores in the UK and the Ireland because of the coronavirus pandemic and in response to changes in customer behaviour.

It plans to move 70 per cent of the 900 affected jobs to a new "home-working sales and service team".

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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