Fresh train strikes 'to heap further pain' on hospitality

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Further train strikes announced for May and June dashing hopes within the hospitality sector that long-running dispute could be coming to an end

Related tags Industrial action Network rail Strike action Trade union ukhospitality

Train drivers are set to strike again across three dates in May and June, dashing hopes within the hospitality sector that the long-running dispute could be coming to an end.

The Aslef union has confirmed that three 24-hour strikes will be held on Friday 12 May, Wednesday 31 May, and Saturday 3 June. An overtime ban will also be put in place from Monday 15 to Saturday 20 May inclusive, as well as on Saturday 13 May and Thursday 1 June.

It comes after the union rejected what it described as a ‘risible’ pay offer for its members of 4% a year for two years.

Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said: “We do not want to go on strike – we do not want to inconvenience passengers, we have families and friends who use the railway, too, and we believe in investing in rail for the future of this country – but the blame for this action lies, fairly and squarely, at the feet of the employers who have forced our hand over this by their intransigence.”

The 16 train companies that will see walkouts are Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR – Great Northern and Thameslink; LNER; Northern; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway; SWR depot drivers; SWR Island Line; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.

It is expected that the strikes, which will impact both the FA Cup final and the Eurovision Song Contest, will stop nearly all trains at the affected companies, bringing a halt to the main intercity and commuter services around England as well as some cross-border services in Scotland and Wales.

Trade body UKHospitality has warned the strikes will impact the start of the busy summer period for the sector, and has reiterated its calls for all parties to ‘redouble’ their efforts to reach a resolution to the ongoing rail disruption. 

“It’s incredibly frustrating that almost a year on from the start of this dispute, there appears to be no resolution in sight,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality. 

“Despite some hope that pay offers would bring rail strikes to an end, hospitality businesses are losing hope that the crucial summer season would be uninterrupted by disruption.

“Collectively, hospitality businesses across the country have lost more than £3bn in lost sales as a result of the strikes and there is no doubt that will increase as a result of today’s announcement, particularly as it will now impact the busy, high-demand summer period.

“I would urge all parties to redouble their efforts in negotiations to reach a resolution and end this long-running dispute, which continues to harm businesses, workers, consumers and public confidence in the rail network.”

Related topics Business & Legislation

Related news