TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has said Ministers must act immediately to save Britain’s high street travel trade in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.
Cortes, the boss of the travel and transport union, spoke out after writing to Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, (23rd March) outlining his concerns that the economic fallout from the pandemic posed ‘an existential threat to jobs and industry’ and calling for ‘urgent action’ saying ‘there is a real risk that travel shops on the high street will be a thing of the past’.
TSSA has now received a reply from Business Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng in which the Minister states ‘we encourage travel company owners to fully explore the Government’s comprehensive support package’ and ‘we are closely monitoring the impact on the travel industry’.
Commenting, Cortes said: “Warm words from the Minister, three months on from my letter simply does not do justice to the gravity of the situation. Our members, and those working right across the travel trade, need urgent action.
“From where I stand it looks as though the Government has its fingers in its ears over the plight of our travel trade which has been so badly hit by Covid-19. What we need to know, without delay, is what the plan is for the future of our British travel trade which is valued by many millions around our country.
“I am more than happy to work with Ministers on this. It is not enough to ‘monitor events’, it’s time to roll sleeves up, protect jobs, and get our travel trade back on its feet, otherwise we run the risk that travel shops on the high street will be a thing of the past.
“The past twelve months have seen the collapse of both Flybe and Thomas Cook due to lack of government action. Thomas Cook’s demise alone cost the taxpayer more than £150 million. With shoppers returning to our high streets it’s vital to learn the lessons from Thomas Cook to make sure travel shops flourish once more.”