Hays Travel owners John and Irene Hays revealed that they have already hired Thomas Cook’s Regional Managers for Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Kent, Essex and East Anglia, who have in turn been re-hiring Thomas Cook staff in their areas.
Many of Thomas Cook’s 555 shops will re-open today as Hays Travel stores after the UK’s largest independent travel agent cut a deal with the failed company’s liquidators to acquire its entire retail chain for an undisclosed sum.
Hays is urging all ex-Thomas Cook staff to get in touch on 0800 2155995. “We would welcome them to join us,” John said.
So far, Hays has taken on a total of 597 former Thomas Cook staff. The retailer employed a total of 2,500 in its shops across the UK and CEO John Hays said he plans to hire ‘at least that number’, which will more than double the company’s payroll.
Within two hours of the acquisition being announced, a recruitment line set up for former Thomas Cook staff had received 401 calls and a dedicated recruitment site had received 3,000 visits a minute.
Describing the military-style operation to re-open the shops as soon as possible, he said 1,000 laptops were delivered to the head office yesterday and staff worked through the night to configure them and ship them to locations around the UK for training.
The Northern Ireland Manager even went to the airport at 2am to collect some of the laptops to begin staff training today.
“We can populate the shops already, we mobilised very quickly,” said Irene. “Many will open and be trading tomorrow, the rest will follow asap.
“The commitment from ex-Thomas Cook staff joining us has been incredible,” she added. “Staff have said, we’ll pay you back John and Irene, and given us a little cuddle.”
John admitted it had been a very emotional time for both Thomas Cook staff and for them.
“These people did nothing wrong and they lost their jobs. When we’ve offered them new positions, a good percentage have cried.
“We want to employ these people, they are quality people.”