'Christmas isn't cancelled' - former Thomas Cook employee on getting job back
PUBLISHED: 14:41 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:16 16 October 2019
A former Thomas Cook worker who lost her job after the collapse of the travel firm is back at work in one of the first Norfolk stores to re-open.
Becky Hardiman, 32, a sales consultant at the former Thomas Cook shop inside Tesco at Sprowston, in Norwich, said she was "heartbroken" after the firm she had worked for most of her career went bust.
She also spoke of her fears about being a jobless mum with Christmas looming.
But after the rescue buy-out by Hays Travel, Becky and the team of three others are back sending holidaymakers around the globe.
Becky, from Sprowston, said: "When I lost my job, I was heartbroken. It wasn't just the job I was going to miss but my colleagues, we were like a family, we got on so well and I loved coming to work. We had also built up such a good relationship with our customers, who used to come back into the shop after their holiday and tell us all about it.
"The first I knew about Hays re-opening shops was when I read about it in the press. I contacted Hays and started back. I'd had three weeks of uncertainty.
"I told my daughter: 'Christmas isn't cancelled after all'."
Becky, who lives with her partner Jon and has a 13-year-old daughter, said she had been off after working the weekend when the news broke of the Thomas Cook demise late last month.
"We didn't know anything, we were in the dark, it was a Monday and we were asked to go to our manager's house and we had a conference call from the Insolvency Service telling us all about it and we then had to go to the store to collect our belongings.
"The worst thing was not being able to contact our customers, some of them are Facebook friends so I could on there, but that was the hardest thing. We also didn't get paid so there was a lot of worry and confusion."
However, Becky said staff had now been paid what they were owed and she is full of optimism for the future.
"Everything is pretty much the same, just some new computer systems to get used to and a new manager."
She said Sprowston was one of the first to open because of the ease of re-employing staff with most living nearby but that other stores such as in London Street, Norwich, and around the rest of the county would gradually re-open .