Thomas Cook proposes second call centre closure

LONDON - Travel giant Thomas Cook UK & Ireland is proposing the closure of its Glasgow call centre as part of a cost saving drive.

The announcement follows the company’s decision to close its Accrington call centre earlier this year with the loss of 200 jobs. It is currently in a 90 day consultation with its Glasgow based staff.

The Glasgow centre employs 158 employees. Thomas Cook has said it hopes to "retain as many people as possible" and has offered job transfers to other call centres.

The company blamed "low occupancy" for the proposal and it said the move would realise synergies in excess of £1m. The commuting distance to Falkirk is approximately 23 miles and Thomas Cook has said the facility is large enough to cater for extra staff.

Pete Constanti, executive director at Thomas Cook Holidays Division, said: "We want to keep as many staff as possible by offering a variety of suitable alternative sales roles."

The travel agent runs operations for its Teletext, Panorama, Manos, Direct Holidays and Style sales centre as well as its credit control function from the Glasgow centre.

It is aiming to relocate and combine these areas with similar functions in its Falkirk and Peterborough offices. Its tour operating offices are based in Bradford.

The director of communications at telemarketing outsourcer The Listening Company, Philip Shuldham-legh, said these were difficult times and the market is very competitive.

"At times like this the focus for many businesses is on cost saving. There seems to be a shift towards customer retention rather than acquisition in many customer contact strategies. We will continue to see movement, around the UK and there will always be a place for offshore call centres," he said.

The Thomas Cook Group was created in June last year after the UK & Ireland businesses were merged.

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