'Difficult week' for hospitality as rail strikes cause trade to fall by up to 50%

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

'Difficult week' for hospitality as rail strikes cause trade to fall by up to 50%

Related tags Strike action Trade union Hospitality

This week's rail strikes have hit hospitality businesses hard, with some city centre pubs reporting a 50% fall in sales and the night time economy seeing a 40% drop.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) says it has been a 'difficult week' for businesses.

“As an industry we really are trying hard to bounce back after the pandemic, but we are faced time and time again with new hurdles from rising costs to labour shortages and now severe transport disruption.”

Much of the national rail network ground to a halt this week as RMT members walked out in dispute over pay, compulsory redundancies and safety concerns on Tuesday and Thursday (21 and 23 June).

A further strike is planned for tomorrow (25 June), with RMT general secretary Mick Lynch saying it's 'extremely likely' there will be more strikes in the future.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) says the businesses it represents have been significantly impacted by the rail strikes.

Night time economy firms rely heavily on the rail network to bring audiences and staff safely to and from our venues, with 81% of London theatre-goers using public transport and a similar proportion of hospitality customers.

The NTIA warns that long term strike action will lead to an irreparable loss of business and jobs, and is urging all stakeholders to come together to support a recovery that everyone can benefit from.

“Our sector is at a critical point in its recovery, as we embark on one of the most important summer festival seasons,” he says.

“Anger and frustration is growing, as it feels for many like they are being drawn back to business levels experienced during the Covid lockdowns.” 

Echoing Kill's words, McClarkin added that it is imperative to the health of the industry that further strikes are avoided.

Earlier this week, UKHospitality warned the rail strikes could deliver a 'fatal financial blow' to businesses already struggling to survive.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said the strikes will cost the sector £540m across the week​, based on a 20% drop in sales where a typical June week sees takings of £2.75bn.

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