March rail strikes could cost sector £600m

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

More disruption: March and April rail strikes could cost sector £600m in lost sales (Credit: Getty/Marc Scruton)
More disruption: March and April rail strikes could cost sector £600m in lost sales (Credit: Getty/Marc Scruton)

Related tags Finance Government ukhospitality

Further industrial action on rail and tube services during March and April could cost the hospitality sector £600m in lost sales, trade body UKHospitality (UKH) has stated.

Some 14 train operators will strike on Thursday 16, Saturday 18 and Thursday 30 March as well as Saturday 1 April amid ongoing disputes regarding pay and working conditions​.

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This week’s rail and tube strikes will heap further disruption on hospitality, particularly in central London.

“Our pubs, bars, coffee shops, hotels and restaurants, to name a few, continue to suffer as collateral damage, with total lost sales since the start of the dispute last year now expected to reach more than £3bn.

“The disruption impacts​ are felt far and wide. Businesses lose crucial sales, workers are often unable to work and earn, and the public are forced to cancel plans with family and friends.

Matter of urgency 

“As we approach the valuable Easter season and head towards the summer, it’s essential that all sides continue negotiations as a matter of urgency and reach a resolution that avoids even more disruption that impacts workers, consumers and businesses.” 

Participating companies include Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, LNER, South Eastern, South Western Railway and West Midlands Trains.

Some parts of the railway will see no service at all during the strikes though most are expected to operate with a reduced service.

Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) and National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) members also took part in walk outs across London Underground services yesterday (Wednesday 15 March).

Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) Michael Kill said: “Our sector has been heavily damaged by industrial action since the start of the dispute last year, with businesses that are currently at the sharpest end of the cost inflation crisis continuing to suffer this week.

No other option 

“Following the hollow budget ​delivered by the Chancellor, it seems clear the Government has not considered the impacts or the immediate crisis faced by this sector, and has left us isolated, with no other option but to trade out of this chaos.

“As we approach some of the key trading periods for the sector, it is now vital for the survival of thousands of Independent businesses that all sides reach a settlement as a matter of urgency, to avoid further disruption.”

This comes as late-night bar group Nightcap revealed previous strike action had cost the business some £1.2m as part of its latest trading update​.  

Regarding yesterday’s tube strikes, RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: "Attacks on pensions, conditions and job losses will not be tolerated and the travelling public needs to understand understaffed and unstaffed stations are unsafe.

"We will continue our industrial campaign for as long as it takes."

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