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Johnson snubs Thomas Cook worker's 200-mile walk for justice at gates of No 10

A THOMAS COOK worker has walked hundreds of miles to deliver a letter to Boris Johnson — only to be turned away at the gates of Number 10.

Cabin crew employee Rachel Murrell, who is a Unite union member, walked over 200 miles from her home in Newton Abbott, Devon to Westminster.

She carried with her a letter addressed to the Prime Minister urging him to investigate the collapse of the world’s oldest travel company a fortnight ago.

In the letter, Ms Murrell dismisses Thomas Cook company chief Peter Fankhauser’s claims that he is “heartbroken” for the 9,000 workers who have lost their jobs, stating that she and her colleagues received no communication at all from her former employers.

“It seems odd that the business was able to pay the directors huge bonuses, and even more strange that our sister airline Condor, bailed out by the German government on September 25, is now advertising for crew to work on the old Thomas Cook routes,” she adds.

The letter demands an “in-depth, forensic investigation” into the company’s collapse, and urges the government to ensure that big companies “ringfence” a pool of money for potential redundancy payments that could be fast-tracked to workers in the event of the company’s demise.

The letter concludes with a demand to strip all Thomas Cook CEOs of their annual bonuses, saying: “Given that bonuses are paid to people who are performing well and benefiting the company, it seems odd that the Thomas Cook directors received huge bonuses while mismanaging the business to the extent it went into liquidation.

“I would ask that pressure be put on the directors to return their bonuses as a gesture of goodwill to their former staff.”

Surrounded by colleagues and Unite members, Ms Murrell was stopped and turned away at the gates of 10 Downing Street.

Ms Murrell told the Star that the redundancy is a “shock to the system,” saying that she had never even written a CV before, since she been employed by Thomas Cook for most of her working life.

She came up with the idea to do a walk because she “couldn’t justify” spending £45 on petrol to travel from Devon to the Thomas Cook workers’ protest in Westminster on Tuesday.

Scores of people offered to put her up in their spare beds, while takeaway owners gave her free food and many drivers offered her a lift, which she “gratefully but certainly declined.”

Ms Durrell’s message to Mr Johnson was simple: “What we need is the truth. How often in politics do you never get the truth?

“I hashtagged #BorisPutTheKettleOn, but he didn’t come out.

Addressing the Prime Minister she said: “Please read my letter, and just try and support us by supporting an investigation that is [as] robust and scrutinising as possible, to get some honest answers for the workers.”

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said the union is “immensely proud of Rachel and all of our Thomas Cook members who have shown such dignity and determination in the face of their shoddy treatment.

“Thomas Cook workers have every right to be angry. The sudden collapse has left many workers desperate and with no income.

“Unite is determined to get these workers the wages they’re owed, and has called on the Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom to restore a modicum of justice to this scandal and ensure workers are paid.

“We are also urging banks, mortgage lenders and landlords to give these workers the breathing space they need to get back on their feet.”


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