Amid the largest repatriation effort since the Second World War after the collapse of travel firm Thomas Cook, Unite raised an emergency motion on the final day of the Labour Party Conference (Wednesday, September 25).
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland moved the motion, calling “for support for all the people so devastatingly impacted by the collapse of Thomas Cook, where Unite represents thousands of dedicated, professional, skilled workers now without a job”.
She highlighted the “terrible impact on communities in the whole supply chain” caused by the company going bust.
“But there is one group of people who are celebrating — the hedge funds who bet on Thomas Cook’s collapse,” Holland added.
She highlighted that according to media reports, these hedge funds are set to gain £250m, while the company needed £200m to prevent the company’s collapse.
“None of this adds up,” Holland said. “Thomas Cook demonstrates the complete failure of the UK’s current system to protect anyone.
“Conference, it did not have to be this way,” Holland added. “Condor, Thomas Cook in Germany, and Thomas Cook Scandinavia are still able to fly under a form of protective administration. Corporate mismanagement and the indifference of the government to UK jobs and business is shameful.”
She lambasted the government for “refusing to play any role” and compared their actions to Labour’s front bench, who have given “powerful commitments”.
Holland warned conference of the urgency of the situation — Thomas Cook workers face not being paid next week, she noted.
“As their union, we are doing all we can to make sure they are paid their wages, get their full redundancy and legal rights, and all the support they need,” she said. “But there is so much more that needs to change.
“Thomas Cook workers and passengers have been asking us, “Who cares? By passing this motion, we can say, ‘Your unions care, your communities care, and Labour cares’.”
The motion was overwhelmingly carried.