Tui to close 48 stores putting 273 jobs at risk
The tour operator said it would offer to redeploy employees at risk of redundancy to other stores or to work from home.
Tui hasn’t said which stores will close. It will have 314 shops remaining following the closures.
The move came the day after the government published plans to fine people £5,000 for going on holiday.
A statement from Tui said: “We want to be in the best position to provide excellent customer service, whether it’s in a high street store, over the telephone or online, and will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do.
“It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions and do our best to look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty. We believe Covid-19 has only strengthened a change in purchasing habits, with people looking to buy online or wishing to speak with travel experts from the comfort of their own home.
“We have world class travel advisors at Tui, so we hope many of them will become homeworkers and continue to offer the personalised service we know our customers value.”
TUI’s sales fell 87.8% in the three months to the end of 2020, from £3.4bn to £404m.
Under the current roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, the earliest date people in England could go abroad for a holiday would be 17 May. However, fears of a third wave of coronavirus in Europe have put this date in doubt.
Manuel Cortes, general secretary at travel union TSSA, said: “What we have heard from Tui is another sure sign our travel trade urgently needs help to get through this pandemic. Sadly, we are yet to hear a peep out of the government about our call for sector specific assistance.
“We welcome the fact Tui is offering to redeploy our members at risk of redundancy to other shops or to work from home. However, the company must be straight with our members that their rights, including pay and working conditions, remain the same no matter whether they work at home or in stores on our high streets – they are legally entitled to this.
“Those rights are paramount and our union, on behalf of our members, will make that point loud and clear as we continue the fight to save our travel trade. We are also calling on Tui to meet us anytime, anywhere to discuss their latest proposals.”