Rail strikes 'could cost hospitality £1.5b a day'

25 November 2022 by
Rail strikes 'could cost hospitality £1.5b a day'

The next wave of rail strikes over the festive period could cost the hospitality industry an estimated £1.5b a day, UKHospitality has warned.

The trade body said businesses had already seen large-scale cancellations with operators facing their third Christmas in a row with disrupted trading.

It warned the damage caused by eight days of 48-hour strikes in December and January could be of a similar scale to that caused by the Omicron Covid-19 variant on bookings last year.

Over 40,000 members across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies will take strike action on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December and on January 3,4,6 and 7.

Transport secretary Mark Harper met with RMT union general secretary Mike Lynch on Thursday and said he was positive there was a "deal to be done".

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has written to Harper urging him to help find a settlement to avert the strike.

She said: "The impact of rail strikes already this year has been devastating and wide-reaching, but this will pale in comparison to what we will see as a result of the upcoming strikes in December.

"This disruption will devastate hospitality businesses during its busiest period of the year and will once again force the public to cancel and rearrange plans, just as they were preparing for an uninterrupted Christmas. Businesses have already seen mass cancellations which won't be rescheduled, costing the sector billions in lost sales.

"The Christmas period is not just good for businesses, it's the most lucrative time for workers where they can benefit from additional overtime and higher levels of tips due to excess demand."

The RMT union is seeking an improved offer on pay and job conditions for its members across the rail network.

"Working people across our class need a pay rise and we are determined to win that for our members in RMT," said Lynch.

Image: Chrispo / Shutterstock

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