'Eye-watering' impact of rail strikes to hit £3.25bn

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Eye-watering impact: May half term rail strikes could cost hospitality firms £132m (Credit: Getty/Monty Rakusen)
Eye-watering impact: May half term rail strikes could cost hospitality firms £132m (Credit: Getty/Monty Rakusen)

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Half-term rail strikes will cost the sector £132m, bringing the total “eye-watering” impact of the year-long strikes to £3.25bn, trade body UKHospitality (UKH) has claimed.

Industrial action across a number of train companies has been confirmed to take place between Wednesday 31 May and Saturday 3 June with limited service across certain operators, affecting this month’s half-term and upcoming events.

UKH​ chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The May half term normally represents a bumper week for hospitality, with typically sunny weather encouraging families to head out on activities, visits and staycations.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen time and time again that rail strikes put a significant dampener on any sales as visitors are deterred from booking visits or eating and drinking out.

Total impact 

“This time around that means families staying at home and football fans travelling to the capital for the FA Cup final disrupted.

“That disruption throughout the week will cost £132m to the sector, bringing the total impact of the year-long strikes to an eye-watering £3.25bn.”

Members of both the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) will down tools as disputes regarding pay and working conditions continue.

The train companies expected to take action include, but are not limited to, Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Gatwick Express, Thameslink, South Western Railway and London Northwestern.

Negotiating table

Figures from CGA​ by NIQ, released last week, showed a full month without rail strikes in April had enabled London pubs and restaurants to achieve sales growth for the first time since the end of the pandemic.

Additionally, last week’s Drinks Recovery Tracker​ from CGA by NIQ also revealed drinks sales in managed venues had softened during the first half of May as consumers faced cooler weather and rail strikes.

Nicholls​ added: “It’s critical for the public, workers and businesses that there is a resolution in this dispute as soon as possible.

“I would urge all involved to get back round the negotiating table for constructive discussions to reach an agreement.”

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