Plea for travel industry to help desperate colleagues

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Plea for travel industry to help desperate colleagues

ABTA Lifeline is appealing for travel companies to donate £2 per employee to support colleagues as the cost-of-living crisis begins to bite.

The charity that handed out £250,000 in food vouchers to Thomas Cook staff after the company crashed in 2019 says the current cost-of-living crisis means it’s support is just as important as ever.

ABTA Lifeline paused its call for donations during the pandemic, but it has recently re-launched its £2-per-employee appeal.

The donations mean it can support colleagues during a crisis, such as if they lose their job, fall sick or suffer a bereavement.

Chair Derek Jones, one of 32 industry colleagues who raised more than £14,000 for ABTA Lifeline in a charity trek to Mount Toubkal ahead of this week’s ABTA Convention said: “Front-line travel isn’t massively well paid, a lot of people live on credit and can sustain it when a salary is coming in but when it isn’t, people can tip over the edge frighteningly quickly.”

Director Trudie Clements added: “It can happen to anybody at all, regardless of where they are in the social ladder. If you fall sick and your sick pay runs out, or you lose your job, you might not be able to meet your outgoings. We’ve even had pilots ask us for help.

“When you look at the demographics of our industry we have a lot of single parents and they are facing problems they didn’t face a few years ago. If you’re on a limited income and your mortgage doubles and then your fridge or your washing machine breaks down, you might not be able to replace it, that’s where we can help.”

She added: “People are seriously considering what they pay for first, food or fuel, and it is only going to get worse in the winter. Our support stretches far and wide, so if a child needs a pair of school shoes or school equipment, that’s the sort of thing we can help with.”

Derek pointed out that although people might be able to claim Universal Credit to top up or replace their incomes, it takes time to kick in and ABTA Lifeline can provide more urgent support. “It really is a lifeline,” he said.

“We are now heading into winter and there is a cost-of-living crisis, which is why we’ve put a call out now, just as we did when Thomas Cook collapsed,” added Trudie.

She said the charity was able to help every eligible Thomas Cook employee after a ‘massive’ fund-raising campaign. “The industry rallied round and did us proud,” she added.

There are several different ways ABTA members can take part in the appeal:

  • Donate £2 for every employee you have
  • Set up a payroll-giving scheme for your employees
  • Do both by ‘match funding’ every £2 collected from employees
  • Make a corporate donation.

To pledge your support, contact [email protected] 

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