Sector 'cannot afford' more 'economic pain' from rail strikes

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Step backwards: RMT offer rejections 'frustrating' for hospitality sector (Credit: Getty/CHUNYIP WONG)
Step backwards: RMT offer rejections 'frustrating' for hospitality sector (Credit: Getty/CHUNYIP WONG)

Related tags Finance Government Health and safety ukhospitality

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport’s (RMT) rejection of new pay offers “so frustrating” for “embattled” hospitality, UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls has stated.

Nicholls stressed the refusal felt like a “step backwards” and implored the country “simply cannot afford” the continuation of this level of “economic pain”.

She said: “It’s so frustrating we now seem even further away from this dispute being resolved. 

“While hospitality has suffered enormous pain during the strikes​, to the tune of £2.5bn​, there was a feeling progress towards a resolution was inching forward, albeit slowly. 

Important pillars

“A functioning rail network is one of the most important pillars of infrastructure in the country and it’s critical for so many consumers, workers and businesses. 

“We’ve seen the damage the December strikes inflicted on hospitality, the wider economy​ and GDP​.”

Last week saw RMT ​decline revised proposals from Network Rail and the Rail Delivery Group to settle ongoing disputes, claiming the offer would mean real terms pay cuts for its members and unsafe working conditions.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "We have carried out an extensive listening exercise and our members have spoken.

Embattled sector 

"If our union did accept these offers, we would see a severe reduction in scheduled maintenance tasks, making the railways less safe, the closure of all ticket offices and thousands of jobs stripped out of the industry when the railways need more investment not less.

"It is now time for the employers and the Government to listen to railway workers in their tens of thousands.”

Lynch concluded the industrial campaign would continue “for as long as it takes to get a negotiated settlement that meets members reasonable expectations on jobs, pay and working conditions”.

Furthermore, RMT stated it would soon begin making preparations for a re-ballot when the existing strike mandate expires in May. 

Nicholls added: “I again urge all involved in the negotiations to double down on reaching a resolution as soon as possible, to avoid inflicting even more pain on an already embattled sector.” 

Related topics Legislation

Related news

Show more