Thomas Cook staff in Haywards Heath ‘over the moon’ to be back following Hays Travel takeover

Former Thomas Cook employees are "over the moon" to have their jobs back following the Hays Travel takeover.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 4:04 pm
Updated Monday, 14th June 2021, 4:04 pm

The Thomas Cook branch in Haywards Heath has reopened after being taken over by Hays Travel, which has bought all 555 Thomas Cook stores.

Jane Jee, store manager, said: “I found out about Thomas Cook going under through the news while I was on holiday in California.

“I was quite shocked, because the message we were getting from upper management was that it was all business as usual.

“It was worrying and upsetting to think that we might not have a job, I spent the next week applying for admin jobs but I wanted to stay in travel really.”

Mrs Jee, 52, lives in Burgess Hill and has been working in Haywards Heath for 6 years, having started at Thomas Cook in 1985 under the youth training scheme.

“I was so relieved when it was announced that Hays were opening the branches, I had a lot of people messaging me about it and it meant I could get on with enjoying my holiday.

“I like doing different things every day, travelling, making someone’s holiday for them.

“I really enjoy having regular customers and knowing I’ve done a good job.”

One employee in the store, Melanie Collins, aged 19, was based in Horsham before the branch closed.

She said: “It was my first job, I’d studied double travel and tourism at Collyer’s.

“It was the job of my dreams.

“My old colleagues and I had our eyes on social media, we were up until 4am watching for the announcement.

“The people above us said it was all fine, we listened to management more than other sources.

“I had my suspicions but management were so persistent.

Miss Collins went for two more interviews in travel during the period between Thomas Cook collapsing and the Hays Travel takeover.

She said: “I was over the moon about Hays taking over.

“I didn’t want to go into another industry, I just love this job so much and was worried because I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy another as much.”

This article was originally published on Thursday, November 14 2019