501 jobs under threat as Thomas Cook Belgium files for bankruptcy

Thomas Cook Belgium has announced that it is to file for bankruptcy. The announcement was made early on Monday evening. 501 people are likely to lose their jobs. Thomas Cook Retail Belgium that includes the company’s travel agency shops needed 5 million euro by Monday in order to continue trading. 

This sum was needed in order to convince the Commercial Court that it has a credible plan, enabling it to ask for protection against its creditors. However, the money has not been forthcoming and filing for bankruptcy was the only option.        

VRT News’ Economics Editor Steven Rombaut explains that "Thomas Cook Retail Belgium could have used the money to amongst other things pay the wages of its staff”.

"The idea had been to allow the shops to start selling holidays from other tour operators, from which they would have earned commission. This would have enabled them to survive. However, they were unable to raise the money needed”.   

Last week three of Thomas Cook Belgium’s companies went bankrupt with the loss of 75 jobs. With the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Retail Belgium a further 501 jobs will be now lost and the name of Thomas Cook will disappear from Belgium all together.      

Staff beside themselves

The 501 staff have reacted with great distress at the news of the bankruptcy. The Christian trade unions’ Patrick Van Holderbeke told VRT News “After the speech by management there was a deadly silence”.    

Many Thomas Cook Retail Belgium staff had hoped that their jobs would be saved. This was also apparent in statements made by management in which they expressed a desire to continue trading. However, the necessary 5 million euro could not be found.

The bankruptcy request will be dealt with today. The 501 staff are out of work from today. However, it can’t be ruled out that a partial take-over will materialise during the bankruptcy process.