Tube strike: London's hospitality businesses face further disruption

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Strike action

Further tube strikes and a 48-hour walk out on Heathrow Express could hit hospitality businesses this Spring
Further tube strikes and a 48-hour walk out on Heathrow Express could hit hospitality businesses this Spring
London’s hospitality businesses are facing further disruption as a result of transport disputes, with two more tube strikes and a 48-hour walkout on Heathrow Express planned over the next two months.

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union announced last week that it was planning further tube strikes over ticket office closures on 28-30 April and 5-8 May. It also confirmed a 48-hour walk out on Heathrow Express from 3am on 29 April in response to what it described as ‘savage cuts’ to the service.

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) said it was ‘extremely concerned’ about the impact this action might have on London’s hospitality businesses, warning that it would cause disruption even if it was called off.

“The planned industrial action by the London Underground staff covers seven evenings; in effect 2% of the evenings this year when London’s restaurants and related businesses, such as theatres, can attract customers,” said BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim.

“Even if strikes are cancelled or ineffective, people will still cancel bookings or not make them in the first place. 

“We hope that the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT Union) and industry chiefs will be able to find a swift resolution which avoids further strike action and which does not impact negatively on tourists and commuters.”

Tube strikes

London Underground (LU) has been holding talks with transport unions since two tube strikes over plans to axe almost a thousand jobs and close ticket offices caused chaos in February​.

Reacting the latest threat of strike action, LU bosses claimed they had already made ‘significant changes’ to proposals following eight weeks of meetings with unions, but would not bow to RMT’s demands to scrap the proposals in their entirety.

“All unions have been invited to further daily meetings with us this week. One union, the RMT, has demanded that all modernisation be stopped," said LU managing director Mike Brown in an open letter to customers yesterday.

“They have no credible alternative suggestions to deal with a changing world."

“We recognise that the strikes the RMT propose from next week will be hugely disruptive to you. I hope that they can be averted - but that is up to the RMT.”

He stressed that if the strikes went ahead LU would work hard to provide the best service it could.

Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express (HEx) also pledged to minimise disruption if RMT members walk out in opposition to plans to cut costs by £6m, putting 201 jobs at risk.

Keith Greenfield, managing director of HEx, said: “We remain eager to continue our productive discussions with RMT union reps and we still hope they choose to resolve the dispute around the table rather than through damaging industrial action.

“A strike is not the answer. It will increase costs when we are trying to reduce them, taking us further away from what we need to do to secure our business for the future.

“However, we will not let it stop us providing an excellent service for our customers. We have a robust contingency plan that will enable us to run regular trains for as long as any industrial action lasts.”

Strike impact

The last round of tube strikes had a mixed effect on London restaurants​, with some reporting a huge loss in earnings and disruption to staff travel times and others reporting an uplift in trade as people stayed in the City for longer.

Chef Xavier Rousset told BigHospitality he was looking at losses of around £10,000 pounds across his four venues and D&D London claimed it lost 15-20 per cent of its business over two days.

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