December train strikes set to ‘devastate’ hospitality trading

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

December train strikes set to ‘devastate’ hospitality trading

Related tags Strike action Industrial action Network rail Trade union ukhospitality

UKHospitality has warned that fresh train strikes planned for December by the Aslef union will ‘devastate trading’ for the sector and cost businesses up to £800m.

Aslef, which represents UK train drivers, has announced a ‘rolling programme’ of walkouts between 2 and 8 December, with different train companies affected on each day.

The union has been locked in a row with train companies over pay and working conditions for the last 18 months and has held 14 one-day strikes so far.

As part of the latest round of industrial action, drivers will also refuse to work any overtime from 1 to 9 December.

“These strikes will hit hospitality businesses at the start of the critical festive period and will devastate trading during one of the busiest weeks of the year,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

“Hospitality businesses rely on revenue made during the busy festive period to see them through the fallow months of January to March, so it’s essential strikes during December are avoided.

“I would urge all parties to get back round the table to resume negotiations and work urgently to reach a solution that avoids these devastating strikes.”

The ongoing industrial action on the railways, 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.

Aslef’s latest announcement comes as rail workers in the RMT union vote on whether to accept a deal in their dispute over pay, job security and working conditions.

That vote closes on 30 November, the day before Aslef's new industrial action begins.

If the deal is accepted, the RMT’s strike mandate will end​, creating a pause and respite from industrial action over the Christmas period and into spring next year.

December train strikes - which train company will be affected on what day?

  • Saturday 2 December: East Midlands Railway and LNER.
  • Sunday 3 December: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern, Thameslink and West Midlands Trains
  • Monday 4 December: no strikes
  • Tuesday 5 December: C2C and Greater Anglia
  • Wednesday 6 December: Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway
  • Thursday 7 December: CrossCountry and GWR
  • Friday 8 December: Northern and TransPennine Trains

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