Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, described the announcement that the taxpayer spent at least £156 million on the collapse of Thomas Cook as “avoidable”.

The figure was revealed in a National Audit Office report published today (Thursday 19 March).

The Department for Transport (DfT) spent an estimated £83 million on repatriating customers, £58 million was spent on redundancy and other payments to the company’s former employees and at least £15 million was spent on liquidating the business.

Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “The government’s failure to support the highly profitable Thomas Cook airline to continue to fly has once again been shown to be a particular error.

 “If the airline had been supported, even for a short time, there would have been no need for a highly costly repatriation exercise, a new permanent buyer found and these costs avoided.

 “The government for years has been promising to introduce the Airline Insolvency Review and the Insolvency and Corporate Governance Review which would have prevented Thomas Cook’s airline being forced into liquidation, but still no action has been taken.

 “It is essential that the government demonstrates it has learnt the lessons from this sorry saga and ensures workers can access benefits and receive the money they are owed quickly when companies collapse.

 “Particularly in the light of the current coronavirus crisis which has already resulted in many workers being made redundant or temporarily laid off.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

 

 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.