Hays Travel to cut 878 jobs as Covid-19 hits industry

Firm says it 'had no choice' after furlough scheme changes and the decision to reimpose quarantine on Spanish holidaymakers.

Hays Travel to cut 878 jobs as Covid-19 hits industry

Hays Travel is to cut up to 878 jobs out of a total workforce of 4500 people, the firm announced on Monday.

The travel company said the UK Government’s decision to advise against non-essential travel and reimpose quarantine requirements for holidays to Spain “triggered the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays”.

Hays Travel owners John and Irene Hays said: “We are devastated that after all of our efforts and the huge investment we’ve made we now face losing some of our valued employees, through no fault of their own.

“Following the decision to ban travel to Spain and the changes in furlough conditions coming at the same time, we have had no choice.

“We are also devastated for everyone who may lose their job and we will do all we can in consultations to help them, as we focus on retaining as many people as possible and rebuilding consumer confidence through our renowned friendly and knowledgeable customer service.”

The news comes just weeks after Barrhead Travel announced it would make redundancies as a “direct result of the impact of Covid-19”.

The travel company, which has more than 30 branches in Scotland, said customer confidence in overseas holidays had dropped due to the ongoing health pandemic.

The Scottish Government reimposed quarantine restrictions on Spain last month after the country saw a significant rise in Covid-19 cases.

The decision, also made by the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales – as well as the UK Government, was made to reduce the risk of the transmission of the virus by those travelling from Spain and arriving in Scotland.

Hays surprised many in October 2019 when it said it was taking charge of all of Thomas Cook’s 555 travel agents across the UK, after the 178-year-old firm went out of business.

That move prevented thousands of staff from losing their jobs.

Hays said it has had “no significant redundancies in its 40-year existence”.

It is consulting with 344 employees who are training as travel consultants and 534 who work in its foreign exchange division.

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