Unite the union has lashed out again at Britain’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps over his refusal to help bail out Thomas Cook.
The union says Shapps is in denial about ‘multiple government failures’ in relation to the company’s collapse and the way it was handled.
Its criticism came after Shapps was asked by Labour shadow transport minister Karl Turner MP, in the House of Commons, to ‘say sorry for letting down all the hard working [Thomas Cook] staff and the British taxpayer’.
Shapps refused to apologise and instead said: “If there was a way of doing it we would have done it. It would have required an accounting officer direction because it simply did not add up.”
Unite said Shapps refused to acknowledge that Thomas Cook’s profitable airline, which employed 4,000 workers, had attracted five different bidders but was forced to enter compulsory liquidation with the rest of the group.
It said the Transport Secretary had also ignored the findings of the Airline Insolvency Review, commissioned two years ago following the collapse of Monarch, which would have helped to ensure the airline could have continued to fly. Only since Cook’s collapse has the Government decided to take action and turn the airline insolvency review into an Act of Parliament.
Unite said Shapps also failed to explain how Thomas Cook’s subsidiaries in Germany, Scandinavia and Spain have continued to fly, after they received support from their national governments.
Diana Holland, Unite assistant general secretary, added: “Grant Shapps and the Department for Transport are directly responsible for failing to ensure that Thomas Cook’s profit making airline was supported and could continue to fly.
“It is clear there were multiple government failures in reacting to the problems at Thomas Cook, but in particular Shapps did not understand his brief on airline insolvency and keeping the airline flying when the company was allowed to collapse and he is still in denial of the facts.
“It is absolutely essential that Grant Shapps is held fully to account for the governmental failures which allowed a company to collapse and thousands of workers to needlessly lose their jobs in the shocking way that it happened in the early hours of 23 September.”