Hospitality leaders urge rail unions to avoid Christmas strikes

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality leaders urge rail unions to avoid Christmas strikes

Related tags ukhospitality Strikes

Some of the UK’s largest hospitality businesses have signed an open letter penned by UKHospitality urging the rail unions to avoid strikes over the ‘crucial’ Christmas period.

37 businesses including Big Table Group, D&D London, Rosa’s Thai and Mitchells & Butlers are also calling on the Transport Secretary, RMT, ASLEF and Rail Delivery Group to ‘redouble efforts’ to resolve their ongoing dispute.

It comes as fresh rail strikes are set to cost the sector up to £400 million, on top of the £3.5 billion already lost over the past 16 months.

Rail passengers faced disruption on Saturday as train drivers struck over pay and condition. 

Aslef members will also strike on Wednesday 4 October and are implementing a five-day overtime ban from today 2 October) to Friday.

“The significance of the festive season to our sector cannot be overstated,” the letter reads. “It represents a crucial time when we traditionally see a substantial portion of our annual revenue generated, crucial to enabling venues to operate during the quiet months at the start of the year.”

“The festive season is a crucial period for our workforce: missed shifts and subsequent lost earnings – including lost income from tips – would be most acutely felt around Christmas.”

“We are urging the rail unions to make a public commitment to not strike during the critical festive period. Striking would cause significant harm to hospitality businesses, undermine workers’ ability to earn and disrupt the plans of hard-working families across the country.”

Neil Sebba, managing director of Tossed, said the ongoing strikes had been ‘extremely debilitating’, as a business that depends on the flow of office workers.

Beds & Bars, which operates pubs, tourist accommodation and entertainment venues, said its sales were down 70%, on average, on strike days. Keith Knowles, its CEO, said its staff were significantly affected in being unable to get to work.

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