Tax­payer faces £60m staff bill

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Tax­pay­ers will have to stump up £60 mil­lion to fund un­paid wages, hol­i­day pay and re­dun­dancy costs for Thomas Cook’s 9,500 staff fol­low­ing the travel firm’s col­lapse, ac­cord­ing to early es­ti­mates.

The cost is in ad­di­tion to the UK Govern­ment’s own £100 mil­lion es­ti­mates for the big­gest repa­tri­a­tion in liv­ing mem­ory of 150,000 hol­i­day­mak­ers when the firm went bust last month.

Prior to the col­lapse, Thomas Cook had asked the govern­ment for a £200 mil­lion loan, but min­is­ters de­clined, con­cerned it would set an un­healthy prece­dent.

Bosses then claimed they had found the fund­ing but on the pro­viso that the govern­ment would act as a guar­an­tor against the loan. Again min­is­ters de­clined. Around £18 mil­lion has al­ready been paid to staff, ac­cord­ing to the Trans­port Salar­ied Staffs As­so­ci­a­tion union, by the Insolvency Ser­vice from tax­payer funds.

The £60 mil­lion fig­ure was cal­cu­lated by the PA news agency fol­low­ing con­ver­sa­tions and anal­y­sis with in­dus­try in­sid­ers.

The statu­tory limit for re­dun­dancy pay­ments is £525 a week. In­sid­ers say the av­er­age pay­ment for staff is eight weeks, mean­ing the amount is likely to be £40 mil­lion for the 9,500 work­ers.

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