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Armstrong says thoughts with staff after Thomas Cook news

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said her thoughts are with staff after tour company Thomas Cook closed its doors.

The tour operator ceased trading with immediate effect, putting 22,000 jobs at risk around the globe. Around 150,000 holidaymakers who travelled with Thomas Cook remain abroad. Over 100 people are employed by the company in Northern Ireland across 23 stores.

“My first thoughts upon hearing this news were with the workers. This is a major blow, as Thomas Cook is not just a global company but a local employer,” said Ms Armstrong.

“In addition, there are thousands of holidaymakers that will now face a difficult journey home. The Foreign Office and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are in the process of completing the biggest peacetime repatriation.

“Flights home will be provided up until October 6. Any people who have paid Thomas Cook for a holiday yet to be taken should begin process to reclaim costs through ATOL. CAA also provide advice on their website at thomascook.caa.co.uk.

“Earlier this year, the Thomas Cook Chief Executive said there was little doubt Brexit had led to UK customers delaying holiday plans, which had had an impact. Added to other factors such as reduced demand for foreign holidays and the bonuses paid to senior staff at the company, we are now faced with the company collapsing and people’s livelihoods being at serious risk.”