Sector hits out at Xmas rail strikes

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Strike action: RMT rejects initial offer to call off strikes (Getty/ kev303)
Strike action: RMT rejects initial offer to call off strikes (Getty/ kev303)

Related tags Bii ukhospitality Finance Social responsibility

Christmas train strikes will go ahead after the RMT union rejected an initial offer by the group representing train companies, a decision that has come under fire from trade bodies.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said its offer would allow for a 4% pay rise this year and another 4% next year. However, the RMT said the offer did not meet its criteria for pay or conditions. 

Industrial action is currently due to take place across four 48-hour periods: 13 to 14 December, 16 to 17 December, 3 to 4 January and 6 to 7 January.

BII chief executive Steven Alton said: “Our pubs have faced nearly three years of devastating disruption from the pandemic, Brexit, the energy crisis and incredible inflation across all areas of their businesses.

“The Christmas trading period is always key as they head into the quieter winter months, but this year more than ever, they need the certainty of the income from the festive season from shoppers and revellers alike.”

Critical Christmas

The latest round of strikes by union members will involve 14 train firms and Network Rail.

Alton continued: “We have already seen the impact the announcement of the train strikes has had, particularly in town centre venues, with thousands of pounds worth of cancellations, leaving our licensees with excess food and drink orders and mounting bills.

“They just want the opportunity to welcome their customers to their fun and vibrant venues, at a time where everyone needs to come together to connect and celebrate for the first time in two years at Christmas.

“Our industry needs to be allowed to trade fully at this critical time, and we would urge all parties to come to an agreement as soon as possible.”

Toughest month yet

Furthermore, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the sheer number of strike days that have affected Britain’s hospitality sector this year has been “unprecedented”, and the December strikes would no doubt be the “toughest yet”, with hospitality businesses set to lose £1.5 billion in sales.

She continued: “Businesses, workers and our customers will feel the brunt of it, with lost business, disrupted travel and plans being cancelled. 

“It’s crucial that all sides come together to reach an urgent resolution that avoids strikes and can limit disruption as much as possible.”

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