Thomas Cook cabin crew have voted in favour of industrial action, in a consultative ballot over the company’s plans to cut 498 jobs.
A total of 475 voted in favour of industrial action, with 53 against and six spoilt ballot papers.
Around 1,150 members of Thomas Cook’s 1,800 cabin crew are members of the Unite union, which also represented British Airways staff during its long-running cabin crew dispute.
Unite representatives for Thomas Cook were due to meet in Manchester on Wednesday (October 26) to decide whether to go through with a full industrial action ballot, which may lead to strike action.
Unite regional officer Mick Whitley said: “The overwhelming vote shows our members’ anger and should be a strong wake-up call for the management to return to the negotiating table with a fair offer.
“The group made £320 million this year and it is paying out a fortune in bonuses and dividends, as well as sponsoring the Olympics.”
According to Unite, negotiations initially broke down over union demands for a ‘realistic’ voluntary severance package which was refused by the management in favour of its current policy of two weeks per year redundancy pay. Unite had requested a minimum of three weeks per year, plus a lump sum payment of £5,000.
Commenting on the outcome of Unite's consultative ballot, Thomas Cook Airlines said: "We're committed to continuing meaningful consultation with our people, their representatives and Unite as we look for opportunities to reduce the potential number of job losses."
Thomas Cook Airlines says it entered into a 90-day consultation with employees in September regarding potential job cuts stemming from its proposal to reduce its airline fleet from 41 to 35 aircraft.
Business Traveller’s sister website seatplans.com has published a handy guide to flying with Thomas Cook – to download the PDF click here.
Report by Scott Carey