Sector 'losing hope' as fresh rail strikes announced

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Incredibly frustrating: ASLEF announces further rail strikes will take place in May and June (Credit: Getty/Sally Anscombe)
Incredibly frustrating: ASLEF announces further rail strikes will take place in May and June (Credit: Getty/Sally Anscombe)

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Hospitality businesses are “losing hope” as latest rail strikes will impact the sector’s “crucial” summer season, according to trade body UKHospitality.

The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) yesterday (Thursday 27 April) announced further strike action would take place on Friday 12 May, Wednesday 31 May and Sunday 3 June as part of the long-running dispute over wage increases and working conditions.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It’s incredibly frustrating that almost a year on from the start of this dispute, there appears to be no resolution in sight.

Crucial season  

“Despite some hope pay offers would bring rail strikes to an end, hospitality businesses are losing hope that the crucial summer season would be uninterrupted by disruption.”

ASLEF rejected the most recent pay offer from the 16 companies with whom it is in dispute, stating the 4% proposal was “risible” and “not designed to be accepted” by drivers who had not had a salary increase since 2019.

The May and June strikes will coincide with some big summer events, such as the Eurovision Song Contest final in Liverpool and the 2023 FA Cup Final.

Lost sales 

Some 15 companies have been anticipated to participate in the strike action, including Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern and Southern/Gatwick Express.

Nicholls added: “Collectively, hospitality businesses across the country have seen more than £3bn in lost sales as a result of the strikes and there is no doubt that will increase as a result of this announcement, particularly as it will now impact the busy, high-demand summer period.

“I would urge all parties to redouble their efforts in negotiations to reach a resolution and end this long-running dispute, which continues to harm businesses, workers, consumers and public confidence in the rail network.”

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