LESSONS have not been learned from the collapse of Monarch Airlines in 2017, as holidaymakers risk being left stranded if tour operator Thomas Cook collapses.

That’s according to Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association, responding to comments from the Foreign Secretary, who assured the firm’s worried customers contingency planning is in place

in the event the business cannot be saved.

Dominic Raab’s assurances came as guests at a hotel in Tunisia reported being locked in by security guards as staff demand extra money in fear it won’t be paid by the holiday company.

A union leader added that employees are working for the firm while not knowing if they have a job or will even get paid for this month.

Thomas Cook is meeting with the firm’s biggest shareholder along with creditors. The travel firm is at risk of falling into administration unless it finds £200 million in extra funds. It was feared the collapse would leave up to 150,000 UK holidaymakers stranded.

“Thomas Cook is at the last chance saloon today and decisions about staff and passengers are being taken in secret,” said Strutton. “It’s a much bigger scale than Monarch.

“There is a real risk that if the worst comes to the worst proper arrangements may not be in place for the repatriation programme and staff are still working while not knowing if they have a job or will even get paid for this month.”

He said the Government did not act on its own review which followed the Monarch collapse, adding: “This is a mess that could have been avoided. Ministers need to step forward and take responsibility for the sake of passengers and staff.”

But Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on yesterday morning: “We have got all the contingency planning to make sure no one will be stranded.

“I don’t want to give all the details of it because it depends on the nature of how people are out there, whether they have got a package holiday or whether they just paid for the flights and sorted out something separately.”

He added: “But I can reassure people that in the worst case scenario, the contingency planning is there to avoid people being stranded.”

Thomas Cook reassured worried customers on Saturday night that their flights continue to operate as normal and all their package holidays are ATOL-protected.

However, tourists at the Les Orangers beach resort in the town of Hammamet, near Tunis, say their hotel is refusing to let guests leave while demanding extra money.

Ryan Farmer, from Leicestershire, told BBC Radio Five’s Stephen Nolan the hotel had on Saturday afternoon summoned all guests who were due to leave to go to reception “to pay additional fees, obviously because of the situation with Thomas Cook”.

With many tourists refusing to pay on the grounds they had already paid Thomas Cook, security guards were keeping the hotel’s gates shut, refusing to allow guests out, or to let new visitors enter.

“We can’t leave the hotel. I’d describe it as exactly the same as being held hostage,” Farmer said.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: “The Government faces a simple choice between a £200m government cash injection to save the company now versus a £600m bill to repatriate UK holidaymakers.”