Over 800 employees at Hays Travel are at risk of redundancy after the company bought Thomas Cook stores last October and had to cope with the coronavirus pandemic disruption.
The Sunderland-based travel agent has branches including in Lincoln, Grantham, Spalding, Stamford, Grimsby and Skegness.
It is consulting with 344 who are training as travel consultants and 534 who work in the foreign exchange division. The experienced travel sales staff, apprentices and other head office employees are not affected.
The exact number of potential redundancies in different local locations have not yet been publicly announced.
A statement from co-owners John and Irene Hays said that “every possible effort had been made” to protect the jobs of all 4,500 staff since February. This includes those who were employed when Hays Travel took on Thomas Cook shops.
However, the recent non-essential travel ban and quarantine requirements imposed on Spain triggered the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays.
The statement read: “There is a very strong latent demand for holidays and we know people will be booking holidays again as soon as they are able to do so.
“We have our retail staff continuing to look after customers who are rebooking, booking for next year, or requiring refunds, but no work for some sections of the business, and sadly, since the decision to ban travel to Spain, that is no longer sustainable.
“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.”