Published on Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Unions outraged that PM refused to save Thomas Cook after German rescue deal for Condor

Thomas Cook staff unions are demanding to know why the UK airline was grounded in the early hours of Sunday, leaving 150,000 passengers potentially stranded overseas, when the group's wholly-owned German carrier Condor has been given a six-month lifeline.

Pilots' union BALPA clamed Condor has received a £350 million capital injection and a six-month grace period by the German government to secure its own rescue deal.

BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said: "Good luck to the Condor staff and customers, but with UK holidaymakers stranded and 9,000 staff out of a job, the Thomas Cook directors need to explain why the UK airline had to be closed but the German one was allowed to continue to operate.

"How was it funded, because it seems there is nothing left in the coffers for UK staff? And why couldn't the UK government give the same kind of bridging support as the German government when it was well known that Thomas Cook had a Chinese buyer lined up?

"It's a national scandal."

Meanwhile, another union, TSSA, which represented the highest number of Thomas Cook staff, has stepped up its calls for the UK government to revive Thomas Cook.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: "Unlike our PM, the German government doesn't for one second think that using public money to save jobs is a moral hazard.

"(Boris) Johnson should get rid of his undergraduate economic dogma and live, like the German government, in the real world.

"The problem isn't one of a moral hazard, it's the immorality of his Government which won"t even lift its little finger to save 9,000 jobs.

"The British assets of Thomas Cook must be taken into public ownership and just as the Germans have done, the company can rise back from its ashes.

"If government intervention is good for the Germans, it should also be good for us too."

The TSSA has already held meetings with the government to discuss what parts of Thomas Cook might be sold as a going concern to new investors.

"We are pleased our union has been able to speak to the Business Secretary, Andrea Leadsom. Clearly, it would have been far better if this had happened before the liquidators were called in to Thomas Cook," said Cortes.

"I was clear with Leadsom that the company could have been rescued, but the British Government was content to sit on its hands when the governments of Turkey and Spain stood ready to step in. That is outrageous.

"Our priority now is to ensure our members have jobs. I'm pleased the Government is looking at what can be put in place and understands the liquidators have a legal obligation to identify the parts of the business which can be sold as a going concern.

"I'm reassured this process is now in place although it would have been preferable if the government would have taken a stake in the company to prevent its collapse. Let's not forget that Thomas Cook was a profitable company in public ownership from 1948 to 1972.

"There are also fears the public interest is not served by the domination of the market place by one major operator - TUI - as this would lead to monopoly profits. The Government has told me this is something they will look at very carefully."


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  • Need to be profitable

    A £1.1BILLION rescue deal on top of existing debt for an unprofitable company does not sound like something the British taxpayer wants to be saddled with.

    By Peter M42, Thursday, September 26, 2019

  • Condor

    The reason that the German government and the state of Hessen provided Condor with a time-limited guaranteed line of credit is that it's not entirely reliant on Thomas Cook traffic and has a track record of profitability in its own right. Thomas Cook provides Condor with around 25% of its traffic, the rest made up of direct bookings and other tour operators

    By John Burland, Wednesday, September 25, 2019

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