Thomas Cook sit-in spreads to second store

A sit-in by disgruntled Thomas Cook staff has spread to a second store in Dublin, a union leader said today.

A sit-in by disgruntled Thomas Cook staff has spread to a second store in Dublin, a union leader said today.

They are protesting at redundancy terms following the early closure of the high street operation.

Almost 50 workers, including two pregnant women, vowed to remain in the Dublin outlets until bosses offer a better redundancy package.

A spokesman for the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said they were threatening a boycott of Thomas Cook holidays.

He said: “Eight staff at a Direct Holidays shop in Talbot Street started the sit-in after security workers turned up saying they had been ordered by Thomas Cook to close the shop.”

Another 40 staff in Thomas Cook’s Grafton Street store then began their industrial action.

The business is divided between the direct holidays and retail wings – one of which sells Thomas Cook deals, while the other can include those from their commercial partners, the union added.

Management have moved to shut the firm’s two Dublin stores a month ahead of schedule claiming they want to minimise any disruption to customers.

The travel company had announced in May it was shutting its high street operation in Ireland.

Some 77 jobs are being axed with the closure of the two Thomas Cook branches as well as a Direct Holidays outlet, although the latter is not due to shut until the end of the summer.

TSSA general secretary Gerry Doherty said: “No strike breakers will be allowed into the shops while the sit-in continues.

“We are not moving until Thomas Cook agrees to sit down with us and reach a proper agreement. We are not going to be bullied and threatened by a company which is deserting Ireland after 125 years.”

He said that unless agreement was reached by Tuesday, he would ask the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to organise a boycott of Thomas Cook holidays by its 800,000 members.

Thomas Cook insisted it would maintain its Irish business at its back office and call centre operation in Parkwest, Dublin, with 70 positions being retained.

The cuts will not affect operations in the North.

Thomas Cook said it brought forward the closure to minimise disruption to customers.

The company said it was offering five weeks per year of service as a redundancy package, which will drop to two weeks if the workers do not accept it.

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