Staff at Larbert Thomas Cook call centre tell of contract worries

Thomas Cook's Larbert customer contact centre underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in December 2016. Picture: Michael Schofield
Thomas Cook's Larbert customer contact centre underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in December 2016. Picture: Michael Schofield

Fears quickly spread among Thomas Cook call centre staff who were told they would no longer be employed by the holiday company.

Employees of the Larbert-based customer contact centre learned on Tuesday morning their jobs will be transferred to customer experience outsourcing firm Webhelp Group as of October.

With no prior knowledge of the announcement, and uncertainty over contracts, some left the meeting “in tears”, while others who weren’t present received the news over the phone.

However, Thomas Cook has moved to reassure those who work at the 300-person call centre their jobs and terms will not change as part of the agreement, drawn up to “allow the business to streamline its operations while maintaining or improving its core offer to its customers”.

A former employee, whose partner still works at the contact centre, said: “It’s ridiculous how the whole thing came about, there were people in tears. Some managers wanted staff to go back on to take calls after being told. It’s just out of order.”

Another angered worker added: “Lots of people have walked out and are very angry. No redundancies have been offered even though most staff would take this option as it has not been confirmed what we will be doing.”

Thomas Cook has confirmed redundancies will not be offered as the “existing set-up” will remain at its Central Boulevard premises.

Employees have received details of a Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations (TUPE) consultation they have now been entered into which means their contractual terms and conditions will be preserved.

Ingo Burmester, Thomas Cook’s chief of UK source market, said: “By using the expertise of a provider like Webhelp we can keep improving our service while focusing our business where we can create the most value for our customers.”

David Turner, Webhelp CEO, said: “We’re delighted to have been selected to help deliver world-class customer experience for Thomas Cook’s holiday customers and proud that our record of excellence in customer service, technology and IT capability and long-term commitment to Larbert made us the right partner for the brand.”