September 24, 2019

Thomas Cook Employees – the real victims of the collapsed holiday company show the UK’s Insolvency laws are not fit for purpose

Whilst headlines about repatriation exercises and ruined “holidays of a lifetime” are understandable, the greatest damage caused by insolvent businesses is to the employees who have made them what they are and have had their careers cut from under them.

Unlike the process of administration in which at least some employees may find their employment preserved before transferring to an incoming buyer, compulsory liquidation simply makes all staff redundant at the stroke of a pen.

Yet, whilst the media has been full of stories of last ditch talks to try and save the business, there is little evidence of discussions with the staff. In fact, reports suggest that many were the last to know of the collapse.

No wonder then that the Labour Party has used this year’s annual conference to promote an agenda for increased boardroom representation for employees and wider employee share ownership.

At least redundant Thomas Cook staff can apply to the insolvency service for certain payments such as statutory redundancy pay, notice pay and unpaid salary – hardly riches and not much for a ruined career, but hopefully sufficient to tide people over while they look for a new employer.

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