UKH: 'hospitality businesses continue to suffer as collateral damage in rail strike dispute'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality businesses continue to suffer as collateral damage in rail strike dispute

Related tags Strike action Industrial action Network rail Trade union ukhospitality Government

UKHospitality has called on the Government, rail unions and companies to resume negotiations as a matter of urgency and try to resolve the ongoing train strikes.

The trade body says hospitality businesses and their staff continue to 'suffer as collateral damage' as a result of rail strikes, which have been going on for more than a year. 

“The elephant in the room is the complete lack of progress made in recent months by the negotiating parties and it’s time that everyone involved gets back round the table to reach a resolution that sees the end to rail strikes,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality. 

The latest intervention comes after the Transport Committee recommended that sectors unable to adopt flexible or remote working patterns on strike days, such as hospitality and the night-time economy, should be protected by minimum service levels.

“While the Transport Committee is absolutely right to point out that sectors acutely affected by rail strikes, like hospitality, are properly considered and protected by future legislation, the real priority needs to be reaching a resolution to the current dispute,” Nicholls continues.

“This is especially important for hospitality, as we approach the busy Christmas period, the revenues of which are often crucial to help venues through the fallow period of January to March.”

The ongoing industrial action, which started in June last year, has had a major impact on the hospitality sector, with UKHospitality previously estimating that the strikes have so far cost the sector in the region £3.5bn.

It has led to some businesses, including steakhouse group Hawksmoor, launching meal deals on strike days to encourage diners out​​​.

Another set of strike days are planned for the coming weeks, with train drivers set to walk out on Saturday 30 September and Wednesday 4 October.

In addition, the Aslef union has announced an overtime ban on Friday 29 September and from Monday 2 to Friday 6 October – disrupting rail travel for over a week. 

“Without an urgent end to this dispute, the £3.5 billion that hospitality has lost in sales will only continue to grow and that is not good for the thousands of hospitality businesses and the millions of people they employ,” Nicholls adds.

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