The mayor of Greater Manchester leads calls outside the Conservative Party conference for former staff to get their unpaid wages.
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Former Thomas Cook staff have demanded the government steps in with financial support, following the holiday company’s collapse.
Chants of “pay us now” were heard outside the Conservative Party conference, as dozens of ex-employees protested after not receiving their wages on Monday.
Some of the 9,000 staff who lost their jobs wore their old uniforms as they held placards reading “Bankers bailed out, Thomas Cook kicked out” outside the Manchester Convention Centre.
The company collapsed last week, entering compulsory liquidation after failing to secure a rescue deal with new investors.
The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, led calls outside the conference for the government to give former staff their unpaid wages and redundancy packages.
“Thousands of people in Greater Manchester woke up last week to the news that they didn’t have a job, and today they were expecting a pay cheque and of course it has not arrived,” Mr Burnham said.
He went on to explain what he thinks the government should be doing to help those who have lost their jobs: “Get payments made without any delay – so that’s both unpaid wages and redundancy, which is obviously a statutory service.
“I think they need to help us with regard to retraining if people want to retrain, but I think they also need to provide better answers – why did the German authorities save their airline, and why was the profitable UK airline allowed just to go to the wall?”
Those gathered at the protest were addressed by Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and MP Lucy Powell.
“Over the weekend it surfaced that the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department didn’t meet with Thomas Cook hardly at all over the last 12 months,” Ms Long-Bailey said.
“We wonder why that was allowed to happen when it was quite clear that there were alarm bells ringing about Thomas Cook for quite some time.”
Thomas Cook’s collapse has led to the UK government to launch Operation Matterhorn, the biggest ever repatriation of British citizens.
Thomas Cook employee: I sobbed and sobbed after final flight
Like the rest of the crew on her final flight, Julie Burns turned up to work knowing she might not be paid – and was left stranded and asked to pay for her hotel room.
Over 100 planes will be used to bring back the more than 150,000 people stranded after the company’s liquidation.
Earlier, Britain’s air regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said that those who had seen their future holiday booking’s cancelled could face up to two months before getting their money back.
The CAA said that customers who had paid for their holidays via direct debit could expect to see their refund within the next two weeks.
But those who had paid via other methods would have to wait longer as the CAA hadn’t received enough information from Thomas Cook.
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“For these claims we will launch a new, simplified online system next Monday, 7 October, where consumers will be able to access an electronic refund form,” said the CAA’s chief executive Richard Moriarty.
“We hope to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form.”
The update from the CAA comes after Thomas Cook’s chief executive Peter Fankhauser told the Mail on Sunday that he was “deeply sorry” about the company’s liquidation.
But Mr Fankhauser denied that he was a “fat cat” in the wake of criticism over his pay, adding he had done his “absolute best” to save the 178-year-old tour operator.