Union hits out at travel agency's redundancy offer

Union leaders hit out today after workers at the country’s biggest travel agency were offered basic redundancy pay-offs.

Budget Travel has said up to 100 employees will be given the minimum deal of two weeks wages for every year at the firm.

Management claimed they offered the package in order to protect as many jobs as possible.

But the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) claimed staff were being short changed.

“The idea (that it would save more jobs) is disingenuous,” a union official said.

“Budget Travel is part of a much bigger group.”

The company announced in August plans to close 14 of its 31 stores and cut sales staff by 75 and possibly let another 20 workers go from head office. Budget employs 266 people in Ireland.

Workers threatened with redundancy signed up to the TSSA in the days after the announcement.

Union leader Gerry Doherty accused Budget Travel of freezing it out of talks on the closures, job cuts and redundancy.

“It is hoping to rush this through by cutting the union out of formal negotiations when we would be asking how a successful multinational travel firm cannot afford to pay decent redundancy packages to loyal Irish staff,” the TSSA chief said.

Budget Travel is expected to set out a timetable next Monday for the closure of stores and lay-off of workers.

A spokesman warned the company was suffering under a 40 per cent fall-off in business this year and planned the basic pay-out to save as many permanent jobs as possible.

“The reality is we are trying to maintain the maximum number of jobs,” a company spokesman said.

“Our objective is to try and maintain as many jobs as possible, unfortunately we regret having to pay minimum only redundancy terms.”

Budget Travel shops facing closure are in Athlone, Clonmel, Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Ennis, Finglas, Limerick, Mullingar, Swords and Waterford.

They could be shut down before the end of October.

Budget Travel is part of the wider Primera Travel Group based in the Swedish city of Malmo. The group operates across Scandinavia and also Iceland and Estonia.

The TSSA was involved in the bitter Thomas Cook dispute last month which saw workers defy the courts and union advice to occupy the company’s flagship Grafton Street store.

Gardaí ended the sit-in with an early morning raid and redundant workers eventually secured a payout of five weeks wages for every year service.

It is understood there is no appetite among Budget Travel workers for a repeat of the row.


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