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“You can't just book it”
The announcement of the demise last week of British Global Travel Group Thomas Cook was met with shock, anger and the loss of an estimated 21,000 jobs across the country. Just within our locality, there are stores in Southend, Rayleigh, and Basildon which have all closed. It is a rather sad state of affairs for what has been for many years a travel institution, but in changing times in the travel and aviation world, it has been unable to adequately adapt.
So what is the impact on its staff?
Yesterday the union ‘Unite’ warned a group of more than 400 cabin crew that they were unlikely to get any wages this month and will have to wait a long time for redundancy pay. Lawyers encouraged them to join 100 colleagues who have agreed to take Thomas Cook to employment tribunals, the Daily Mail reported. They say employees could be entitled to 90 days’ pay as compensation because Thomas Cook unlawfully failed to keep them in the loop about the company’s difficulties.
There may well be wider implications for the senior management of Thomas Cook, with allegations that they moved millions of pounds from Thomas Cook to a subsidiary airline if it, ‘Condor’.
If you have booked a holiday with Thomas Cook?
Thomas Cook customers could have to wait up to two months to receive full refunds for cancelled holidays. Direct debit customers will be refunded within 14 days, but others will have to wait up to 60 days, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
A new online refund system will be launched by the regulator on 7 October. Customers looking to get back funds lost due to cancelled flights or holidays linked to the collapse of Thomas Cook will have to fill out an electronic refund form.
So have we all learnt anything as consumers from what has happened?
Ideally book your holiday via direct debit. Always ensure that your holiday is ATOL protected. And although many would say that it was very difficult for Thomas Cook consumers to foresee this happening, the CAA are reporting record numbers of travel agencies going bust with consumers money. So whilst the internet may well have opened up competition and driven down prices, always be careful to check the agent you are booking with, as the best deal may not always be the smartest!
We are lucky to have a very good and helpful aviation authority (CAA) so if ever in doubt, they are always worth contacting.
This new Column is by Melinda at Giles Wilson Solicitors who will be reporting on local and international news weekly.
For any legal advice please call Melinda or her team on 01702 477 106 or visit one of Giles Wilson's offices: 1711 London Road Leigh, 54 Leigh Broadway, 5 Roche Close Rochford