Thomas Cook workers have been forced to turn to food banks after losing their jobs following the collapse of the travel firm, it’s claimed.
A meeting held by union bosses saw hundreds of devastated former employees speak about their financial woes after finding out they were unlikely to be paid their wages on Monday which is their pay day.
According to the Daily Mail, some workers said they have had to use charity food vouchers and were relying on financial help from friends and family since they lost their jobs.
The collapse of the 178-year-old travel firm on Monday left 9,000 workers without jobs and 165,000 Brits stranded abroad.
It comes after it emerged directors including chief executive Peter Fankhauser collectively took a £47million pay packet.
That included £29m in bonuses despite plummeting profits.
Cabin manager Laura Tremarco, 39, who had worked at Thomas Cook since she was 17, said she met Mr Fankhauser at an event several years ago saying ‘he seemed like a nice guy’.
She added: “Little did we know he and the rest of them were taking these massive wages.
“It is disgusting,” she continued. “I was supposed to get paid around £3,000 with commission on Monday, but we’re not getting any of that.
“I feel so angry and sad.”
Part-time air hostess Betty Knight, 52, who has worked in the industry for almost 30 years, said she was “heartbroken”.
“It’s a worrying time,” she added.
“Thomas Cook is made up predominantly of women and it is the single mothers I really feel for. It will hit so many of them so hard.’
“We had pay freezes and everything down to the last paperclip was accounted for. There should be an inquiry – it stinks.”
For Danny Cossar, 35, this is a second blow. He previously worked for Monarch Airlines, which collapsed in 2017.
Danny, from Manchester, was among cabin crew and holidaymakers “held hostage” at a Cuban hotel when Thomas Cook went under owing it money.
He said: “They are the best people in the industry, with such passion for their customers.”
Cabin crew manager Janet Thorpe also suffered a double blow.
She was on a family break through the firm in Orlando, Florida, and learned on the day of the collapse the hotel had taken £568 from her account.
The 53-year-old, from Chorley, Lancs, said: “I rang them and they said it was because Thomas Cook hadn’t paid them and I was liable.”
She is still coming to terms with losing her job, adding: “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. The last time I did a job interview was in 1993.”
Mike Gaskell from United said: “We’ve seen film star wages being taken out of a business for what ultimately was failure. People have a right to be angry.”
However a lawyer said that employees were in a “complex” legal situation and another said litigation would be expensive.
James Froud, who works at law firm McCarthy Denning, said: “News that Thomas Cook employees are planning legal action after losing their jobs may have buoyed some – but sadly the news is not particularly good for them.
“The legal position for employees in the context of their employer becoming insolvent is complex.
“Whilst they may have rights to claim unfair dismissal, to seek redundancy compensation and a ‘protective award’ for a failure by the employer to consult with them prior to the dismissal, the value of those claims is restricted – and the way in which these claims are treated (amongst claims by other creditors) is not generally that favourable.”
Ross Meadows, who is based at Oury Clark solicitors, said: “The employees will have various claims against the company, including claims for unpaid salary, benefits and notice pay; statutory redundancy pay; unfair dismissal; and a protective award for failing to inform and consult with staff as is required in a collective redundancy situation.
“Unfortunately, the litigation is expensive and judgment debts are difficult to enforce against insolvent employers.”
Thomas Cook’s collapse is also prove a massive blow to high streets across the UK as it had around 560 branches.
Thousands of smaller firms, including independent travel agents, have also been caught up in the massive fallout as many are owed commission for making bookings for the travel firm.
The firm’s bosses are likely to be quizzed by the government following rumours that they siphoned millions from the UK arm of the airline to keep German subsidiary Condor afloat hours before it went under.