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Published on Monday, June 15, 2020

Kuoni tells staff it's time to make those job cuts

Kuoni has begun a 45-day redundancy consultation among its staff today but could not disclose how many faced losing their jobs this time.

The long-haul specialist  announced 70 redundancies back in March but then reinstated these people using the Government's furlough scheme. At the time Derek Jones, UK chief executive of Kuoni's parent DER Touristik, described it as like 'going into hibernation'. 

In March, the redundancies were among both retail and head office staff and were mainly those with less than two years' service. It is believed this included some former Thomas Cook staff who joined last in 2019 following the company's collapse.

A spokeswoman said this time around the cuts wouldn't necessarily be made on a 'last in, first out' basis.

"The consultation will involve all staff," she said. "The transformation board is about mapping out the future shape of the business and the roles needs, so it will be done in consultation with staff as openly and fairly as we can possibly be."

She said the Government's job rentention scheme  will taper from August onward and with a significant drop in demand for travel Kuoni needs to plan for the next phase and to allow time for meaningful consulation.

A statement from the Dorking-based company said that in 'one of the hardest letters he's ever had to write', Jones praised staff for their 'unswerving' support and commitment over the past three months, saying it was a time which has tested the company to the limit.

He also outlined steps taken to try and rule out compulsory job losses, including voluntary redundancy, reduced working hours and recruitment freezes in addition to maximising the support of the job retention scheme.

Jones said: "In the short term we will be a smaller business but by taking these actions now we can see our way through it and emerge stronger in the future.

"We have one of the most envied brands in the travel industry and we must now look at a roadmap to recovery so we can thrive in the years to come. As we move into the next phase of the crisis beyond the support of the job retention scheme, we will need to adjust our plans in line with reduced demand which means we have to take some very difficult decisions."

"We've done everything we can to try and retain jobs and manage our way through this, but we are now faced with a set of circumstances where we have exhausted all other options.

"We've always said our people are the difference. The talent we have at Kuoni is second to none and it's my hope that we can support everyone personally and professionally at what is undoubtedly the most challenging time our industry has ever faced."

Kuoni employs just under 500 staff in the UK and overseas.

Jones has taken a 30% cut in salary since the start of the lockdown and other senior managers are on 20% less. 

While other retailers have re-opened today, Kuoni won't re-open its stores until August at the earliest.



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