National rail strike would 'jeopardise hospitality recovery', warns UKH

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

National rail strike would jeopardise hospitality sector recovery, warns UKHospitality

Related tags ukhospitality Kate nicholls Strike action Government

Trade body UKHospitality (UKH) has warned that a national rail strike would 'further jeopardise' hospitality businesses working hard to rebuild following the pandemic.

Commenting on the RMT vote for national strike action this summer, UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls says disruption on the rail network would discourage both UK and international tourism over the crucial summer months.

“Trains are essential across the country for the safe transport of staff and customers,” she says.

“A lack of commuter trains bringing people into towns and cities will further set back the recovery of our high streets and will also deter people from going out in the evening - especially women and vulnerable people who may rely on trains to get them home and feel safe late at night.”

The RMT union announced last night (24 May) that railway workers had voted overwhelmingly to strike in dispute over pay, compulsory redundancies and safety concerns.

In all 71% of 40,000 members balloted from across 15 train operating companies including Network Rail took part in the vote, with 89% voting in favour of strike action and 11% voting against.

The RMT union said its leaders would meet to discuss a timetable for strike action from mid-June. Services could be reduced to around a fifth of the normal weekday timetable if the action takes place. It is also possible trains will only run for part of the day, such as from 7am to 7pm, and only on main lines.

It comes after Scottish train operating company ScotRail issued a temporary timetable that cut daily services by a third earlier this week, amid a pay dispute between ScotRail bosses and railway unions, where drivers have declined to work overtime or on rest days.

Nicholls adds that UKH is already hearing reports from Scotland of cancelled hotel bookings due to the dispute.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which represents some 1,400 independent bars, clubs and live music venues across the UK, has also voiced concern about the prospect of a national rail strike.

“The announcement of UK wide train strikes yesterday has sent a shockwave throughout the industry, over concerns for staff and public safety, and the potential impact on trade,” says Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA.

“Rail services across the UK finishing at 7pm will leave many stranded at night, compromising safety with limited transport services available.

“The transport infrastructure within the night time economy is vitally important as we move in to peak summer season for festival and events, and a critical time for tourism, so reliant by the sector for recovery.”

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