A TAXI company in Barnsley is offering free travel to all Thomas Cook staff who are flying back to England.

Mark Dixon, who owns Broadway Travel Barnsley and is also a driver for the company, said he was ‘saddened to hear of the collapse of Thomas Cook’ and wanted to do something for its staff.

“I went to take some passengers out to Manchester at 3am on Monday morning, which was just after the news broke about Thomas Cook,” said Mark, who lives in Barnsley town centre.

“I went into the departures lounge and it was eerie and quiet. It made me think what the staff are going through and what they have to cope with in terms of stress levels.

“I thought of the idea of providing free transport from the airport and then sat down with the drivers to speak about it. We said we could do it for the staff in Barnsley or who live in Barnsley. It is the least we could do is offer these staff a free ride home.”

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Mark, 53, said he and his drivers will be on hand to pick up Thomas Cook staff from any airport or or cruise port across England. He added that the taxi company is ‘thankful’ for Thomas Cook as the global travel group was ‘part of the reason Broadway Travel exists’.

“It’s saying a bit of a thank you to the staff for their hard work and who have helped to give us business really,” added Mark.
“There are staff still out there working overseas and some don’t even know when they are coming back. When staff know they are coming back they can get in contact with us and we have said we will have a driver there waiting for them.

“It’s just a little something really.”

Anyone who knows of staff members needing transport can get in touch with Broadway Travel by calling 952 002.

Employee ‘left in the lurch’ in Cypriot hotel

A THOMAS COOK staff member who works abroad as an entertainer has said he and other staff have ‘no idea when they will be paid or when they will be going home’ after the firm collapsed in the early hours of Monday.

The staff member, who does not wish to be named as he claims Thomas Cook HR have warned all staff not to talk to the press, is still in Cyprus where he works at a hotel.

Thomas Cook collapsed after last-minute negotiations at saving the 178-year-old firm failed. In the early hours of Monday a message was sent out and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the tour operator had ‘ceased trading with immediate effect’. The collapse has also triggered the biggest ever peacetime repatriation, aimed at bringing more than 150,000 British holidaymakers home. The tour operator’s failure puts 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide, including 9,000 in the UK.

He said all staff in his hotel have been ‘left in the lurch’ and are getting daily conference updates from Thomas Cook but with ‘no real answers being given’ about pay or what the next step will be for staff in the hotel.

“It has been a complete nightmare really,” said the worker.

“We didn’t know anything about it until some guys in the hotel asked us if we knew and then we got a message saying that was it, Thomas Cook has collapsed. We couldn’t believe it.”

The team leader said he and other staff were told on Monday ‘not to go to work or talk about what happened’ and not to wear their uniform, but staff received another update later on the same day telling staff it was ‘business as usual’ and they were told to keep going ‘as if everything was normal’.

“The thing is we had guests flying out to us on Sunday night and they are here for two weeks so we have been told to stay,” he said.

“We don’t have a clue what’s happening really and it’s awful. We get updates but our questions aren’t really being answered. It’s all waiting around to know what is next.

“Local staff here have been really nice and saying how brave us Thomas Cook staff are for even continuing to go into work. The guests who have been with us for a week or more are really nice to us which makes all the difference.

“One couple here are getting married - our hotel is big for weddings - on Monday and they are supposed to have 34 guests flying out and it looks like it’s just them and their two children now. They’ve invited all of us Thomas Cook staff to join them as well which was nice.”

The team leader said he is also unsure what is happening with bonds, which is what staff abroad have to pay at the start of each season to cover their board and other necessities, as this is only returned when a full season of work is completed.

“It is only given back when we finish our season and I was supposed to come home on November 1, but it is now looking like October 9. I don’t know if I will lose out on this money.

“It’s just all a complete shambles.”