You are:

News

Return to news listings

TSSA Demands Boris Johnson Acts Over Travel Trade Plight 

4 November 2020

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has written to Boris Johnson calling on the Prime Minister to intervene and provide targeted sector support for the travel trade as England moves into another Covid lockdown period.  

The union boss also repeated his call for a Travel Trade Minister to be appointed to champion the industry. 

Cortes took the step after “no effective action” from senior Ministers to pleas from the union to address the stark picture faced by the travel industry, with tens of thousands of jobs and many businesses already lost as a result of the pandemic.  

In his letter Cortes writes - ‘Doubtless you will be aware that this normally vibrant sector of the economy has taken a massive hit in recent months, with close to 100,000 jobs lost. Deep fears remain across the industry over further redundancies in coming weeks, not least as lockdown advice for November states that “holidays abroad and in the UK…will not be allowed” – essentially a complete shutdown of the travel sector’. 

He goes on - ‘The truth of the matter is your Government to date has ignored the clarion calls for help from our travel trade; the buck has been passed from Business Department to the Department for Transport and back again. Meanwhile no effective action has been forthcoming’. 

‘Now, as lockdown approaches, many businesses across our travel trade need substantive, long-term, sector specific economic support. There would also be a real benefit in creating a post of Travel Minister, so that travel no longer falls between the cracks but has the dedicated champion our industry needs on a daily basis. 

‘I urge you to consider these measures without delay, hundreds of thousands of livelihoods depend on it’. 

The full text of the letter is as follows -  

Prime Minister 

I’m writing about the plight of our country’s travel trade which needs greater targeted support as we move into another period of lockdown aimed at tackling this terrible pandemic. 

Doubtless you will be aware that this normally vibrant sector of the economy has taken a massive hit in recent months, with close to 100,000 jobs lost. Deep fears remain across the industry over further redundancies in coming weeks, not least as lockdown advice for November states that “holidays abroad and in the UK…will not be allowed” – essentially a complete shutdown of the travel sector. 

As the General Secretary of a travel and transport trade union I have heard directly the concerns many of our members and employers within the sector have regarding the future. Indeed, before anyone had ever heard of Covid-19, the previous twelve months had seen major challenges for travel – with the collapse of both Flybe and Thomas Cook due to lack of Government action. 

Since March this year I have been raising the alarm; telling both your Transport and Business Secretaries how our travel trade has heard very little from Government in terms of the bespoke support it badly needs to both stay afloat and flourish again once the virus subsides. 

Those employed in this sector have been working diligently to facilitate domestic and international travel and stave off further economic catastrophe. They will continue to do so until the lockdown shutters are in place, with travel shops closed from Thursday 5th November and very little activity elsewhere within the industry. 

Let me be clear – workers in travel will again face the most uncertain of futures and need, without delay, to hear what your Government is able to offer by way of direct assistance. I agree that we will come through this pandemic, but if we are not careful there will be no travel trade to speak of once the crisis is over. 

That would have a devastating effect, not just in terms of jobs – too many of which have been lost already – but across our communities. Millions of our citizens will, in the hopefully not too distant future, wish to go on holiday again. It is my hope and expectation that Ministers will wake up to the fact that travel is crucial to the wellbeing of our nation and act accordingly. 

You need not take my word for it. The Travel Trade Gazette has been so concerned that it has been running a high-profile campaign to ‘Save Travel’ with backing of industry leaders, urging Ministers to listen as our industry faces a ‘threat to its very existence’. 

The truth of the matter is your Government to date has ignored the clarion calls for help from our travel trade; the buck has been passed from Business Department to the Department for Transport and back again. Meanwhile no effective action has been forthcoming. 

In July our union was told by the Business Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, ‘we are closely monitoring the impact (of Covid) on the travel industry’. Since then we have seen nothing more than the launch of Grant Shapps’ ‘Global Travel Taskforce’ - though that quickly sunk without trace. 

Now, as lockdown approaches, many businesses across our travel trade need substantive, long-term, sector specific economic support. There would also be a real benefit in creating a post of Travel Minister, so that travel no longer falls between the cracks but has the dedicated champion our industry needs on a daily basis. 

I urge you to consider these measures without delay, hundreds of thousands of livelihoods depend on it. I stand ready to assist if required. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Manuel Cortes 

TSSA General Secretary  

Return to news listings

Join TSSA

Directory