Thomas Cook collapse: workers need justice!

24 Oct 2019

Thomas Cook may have collapsed in the UK, but it’s a European story. Companies, travel agencies, and hotels all over Europe and beyond have been affected, and around 22.000 workers are suffering from the consequences. This bankruptcy is a disaster for the sector and the workers who have lost their jobs and their income.

With political will and the right legal framework and mechanisms, the collapse of Thomas Cook could have been avoided. Condor in Germany is still flying, Thomas Cook Balearics is still flying, Thomas Cook in Sweden is still flying, the travel agencies in Belgium have been taken over. Why not in the UK?

The UK Parliament is investigating the matter through a select committee, the Assistant General Secretary Diana Holland from Unite, our affiliate defending the Thomas Cook workers in the UK, gave testimony:

The bankruptcy of a company of this size and in this sector cannot be handled like any other. The difference in insolvency laws in Europe is problematic in the case of real multinational companies and puts them at a complete disadvantage with their competitors in different regions of the world, e.g. the U.S.

Today, the European Parliament voted in plenary session on a joint motion on the negative impact of the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook on EU tourism. The motion was initiated by Renew, S&D, PPE, ECR, and GUE/NGL. The final text should be available soon.

For the ETF, the motion should have further considered the employment perspective and the right to repatriation for airline crews should have been included.

Until further answers are found on a political level, the ETF has made a donation to the solidarity fund for the Thomas Cook workers who are now without wages, we have provided them with job openings throughout Europe, we have also contacted the European Commission and alerted the European Consumer Center Network on the impact of the insolvency on employment.

The collapse should not have happened; it did not need to happen! The ETF stands in solidarity with all Thomas Cook workers and we continue to defend their interests together with our affiliates.