Former Aylesbury Thomas Cook employeers share heartbreak after losing 'dream' job
Two ex-Thomas Cook employees have shared their story of life after they lost their jobs over night as Thomas Cook collapsed.
Fortunately for Martin Geraghty and Hayley Mould there was a silver lining, as Co-operative Travel in Thame swooped in to offer them new jobs after they posted on social media.
They have 34 years in the travel industry between them.
Hayley Mould, who has worked in the travel industry for 15 years, said the news was 'absolutely devastating'.
And worst of all, the small but tight knit team at Aylesbury's Thomas Cook shop found out about the firm's demise by watching reports on the news, rather than being informed by senior management teams at the company.
Hayley, who worked at the Aylesbury Thomas Cook Branch for six years said initially she wasn't concerned about reports, as the company had been through testing times before.
She said: "To begin with, everybody at the branch wasn't too concerned about what was happening, it's the nature of the business that things go up and down, and Thomas Cook had certainly been through rough times before.
"But on the Sunday before the firm was put into liquidation things did feel a bit different, but I just wanted to get on with my work and we'd heard nothing from senior management, so just continued as normal." Martin, who was away on a Thomas Cook holiday in Cuba and landed home on the day before the fateful day was left to come home to no job and no chance to even go back into the store to say goodbye properly.
However news began to filter through national media that the firm, which has been a huge part of British High Streets and has a history dating back 178 years.
At 1.47am on Monday 23 September, winding-up petitions for Thomas Cook and 25 subsidiaries were granted.
Thomas Cook could not secure a £200m loan to keep the business afloat, and the business was subsequently wound up
Hayley added: "This whole episode has been a disgraceful case of mismanagement from senior parties in Thomas cook.
"There was nothing wrong with our service, or the quality of our holidays.
"It's been a total case of financial mismanagement from senior people at the firm. They should apologise and be doing more to help out loyal staff who have worked with them for years."
Thomas Cook owns about 560 high street outlets.
The team were told not to go to their stores on Monday, however the team decided to meet up to try and get an explanation from senior figures at the firm.
Hayley said a conference call was held, where staff members were told to come in and pick up their stuff.
Hayley added that in some instances, people had been working at the firm for 15 years and said it was disgraceful how customer-facing staff had been treated.
They didn't even get paid their wages.
Luckily for Hayley, an acquaintance with someone who worked for Co-Operative Travel led to her not being out of a job for too long.
She had previously worked with Kerry at Going places years ago, who now manages Co-operative travel in Thame.
After Hayley put a heartfelt social media message out, Kerry fortunately had two positions available so she could carry on working in the travel industry.
Hayley admits she was 'very lucky', and felt for others who are still out of work.
However, she said she still feels embittered at the demise of Thomas Cook and has poured scorn over the senior management teams at the firm.
The pair, however are looking forward to their new future at Co-Operative Travel, and are feeling optimistic.
Customers can contact them on 01844 215576 or pop in to Co-operative Travel inside the food store Thame.