WORKERS at a Johnstone travel agent could be handed a lifeline following the demise of a retail giant.

Travel firm Thomas Cook collapsed last month after a last-ditch rescue deal fell through, with 9,500 staff across the UK and beyond left jobless.

Scores of Thomas Cook branches also closed, including those in Johnstone, Renfrew and Paisley.

Following the chain’s collapse, Barrhead Travel announced it was creating a total of 100 posts in its 34 stores to help workers who had lost their job.

Now campaigning councillor Andy Doig has written to bosses at the firm to ask them to consider coming to the rescue of staff who were based at the Thomas Cook branch in Johnstone’s High Street.

Councillor Doig, who represents Johnstone North, Kilbarchan, Howwood and Lochwinnoch, told The Gazette: “I have written to Barrhead Travel management, commending them for their positive response to the Thomas Cook collapse, as they have established a special staff team to interview former Thomas Cook staff to save as many jobs as possible.

“I have further formally requested that they re-employ the former Thomas Cook staff in Johnstone as a matter of urgency.

“I have also asked Barrhead Travel to consider re-opening the shop under their own distinctive branding.”

Councillor Doig believes similarities between Johnstone and Barrhead should be enough to persuade travel bosses to step in.

He added: “Johnstone has a similar population to Barrhead and I think it would make a great addition to Barrhead Travel’s portfolio and attract much business, not just from the town but from the surrounding villages.”

A spokesman for Barrhead Travel urged staff from the Johnstone store to get in touch.

He said: “We are very proud of our family ethos at Barrhead and are committed to helping Thomas Cook employees from across the country, including Johnstone, get back to doing what they love.

“We have opened positions specifically for Thomas Cook staff and would urge them to get in touch.

“We put a lot of support into developing our people and we believe we offer some of the best staff benefits in the industry. It’s clear that the teams from Thomas Cook are truly passionate about finding their clients’ dream holiday and we want to help them get back to doing what they do best.”

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