Thomas Cook protest continues


Protesting Thomas Cook staff in Dublin have been served with a High Court order asking that they leave the premises, it was revealed tonight.

More than 40 workers, including two pregnant women, have occupied the outlet in Grafton Street, Dublin, since management announced the immediate closure of the company’s two offices in the city at midday yesterday.

The workforce is seeking an improved redundancy package.

Gerry Doherty, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), said: “The support we are getting from the court of public opinion is huge.”

He said he had been summoned to court on Monday morning and was trying to contact lawyers. He affirmed that workers would not be complying with the order.

“Members are still inside, the mood is euphoric, we are fighting this,” he added.

Earlier, the protest today had spread to a second store in Dublin’s Talbot Street.

Management have moved to shut the firm’s two Dublin stores a month ahead of schedule, claiming they want to minimise any disruption to customers.

The travel company had announced in May it was abandoning its high street operation in Ireland.

Some 77 jobs are being axed with the closure of the two Thomas Cook branches as well as a Direct Holidays outlet, although the latter is not due to shut until the end of the summer.

Mr Doherty added: “No strike breakers will be allowed into the shops while the sit-in continues.

“We are not moving until Thomas Cook agrees to sit down with us and reach a proper agreement. We are not going to be bullied and threatened by a company which is deserting Ireland after 125 years.”

He said that unless agreement was reached by Tuesday, he would ask the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to organise a boycott of Thomas Cook holidays by its 800,000 members.

Thomas Cook insisted it would maintain its Irish business at its back office and call centre operation in Parkwest, Dublin, with 70 positions being retained.

The cuts will not affect operations in Northern Ireland.

Thomas Cook said it brought forward the closure to minimise disruption to customers.

The company said it was offering five weeks per year of service as a redundancy package, which will drop to two weeks if the workers do not accept it.

Additional reporting PA