Rail strikes will have 'catastrophic impact on trade'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Rail strikes will have 'catastrophic impact on hospitality trade'

Related tags Strike action Network rail

A leading hospitality trade body has warned that next week's national rail strikes will have a 'catastrophic impact on trade', limiting access to cities, events and festivals across the UK.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which represents some 1,400 independent bars, clubs and live music venues across the UK, adds that the strikes, which will see much of the national rail network ground to a halt next week, will compromise the safety of both staff and customers.

“The timetabled strike day rail services across the UK will leave many stranded at night, compromising safety with very few alternative transport services available,” says Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA.

Network Rail has said about half of all rail lines will be closed when thousands of workers walk out across Britain on 21, 23 and 25 June.

The services that run will start and finish earlier, from 07:30 to 18:30, with passengers advised not to travel on trains unless necessary.

"Make no mistake, the level of service we will be able to offer will be significantly compromised and passengers need to take that into account and to plan ahead and only travel if it's really necessary to do so," said Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail.

The timetable from 20 June to 26 June is still being finalised and will be published tomorrow (17 June), but Network Rail has said the number of services is expected to be around 4,500 compared with 20,000 normally.

Disruption is also expected to carry over into non-strike days during the week, when only about 60% of services are expected to run. This is due to not enough staff being on shift overnight to get services ready for the following day.

“The announcement of the strike day timetable, with services being reduced to 20% on strike days, with the last service ending at 18.30pm, will have a catastrophic impact on trade,” adds Kill.

“This will limit access to cities, events and festivals across the UK, with mounting concerns over staff and public safety.

Last month, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls warned that disruption on the rail network will 'further jeopardise' hospitality businesses working hard to rebuild following the pandemic​ and discourage both UK and international tourism over the crucial summer months.

One business hoping to combat the impact of the strikes is London's DC-inspired, multi-faceted restaurant and bar venue Park Row, which is encouraging guests to still come for dinner by offering to cover their inbound taxi fare to work up to £30 per person. 

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