London tube strikes over Xmas 'challenging' for sector

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Exceptionally challenging: RMT members vote in favour of extending industrial action on London underground (Credit:Getty/Bim)
Exceptionally challenging: RMT members vote in favour of extending industrial action on London underground (Credit:Getty/Bim)

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Hospitality firms in London “poised for an exceptionally challenging festive period” as RMT members vote to extend industrial action in the capital.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) announced on Thursday 9 November strikes on the London Underground would continue for a further six months mandate following a re-ballot.

In a long-running dispute over jobs, conditions and pensions, union members working on London Underground services voted overwhelmingly to continue the campaign.

Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA​) CEO Michael Kill warned the strikes, teamed with the cost-of-living crisis​, meant hospitality venues across London were “poised for an exceptionally challenging festive period”.

Mounting losses 

He said: “The profound impact of these ongoing disruptions on our industry once again prompts a call for a concerted effort to find a resolution.

“The timing is particularly worrisome, coinciding with the crucial ‘golden quarter’, a period pivotal for annual revenue generation to sustain the sectors through the slower months in early 2024.”

Moreover, Kill added the “mounting losses” incurred across the sector due to rail disruption, estimated by UKHospitality ​to be around £3.5bn, were a “threat to countless individuals and businesses” within the industry.

He said: “With concerns that continued industrial action could potentially double current sector losses, I appeal to all parties involved in the dispute to prioritise the well-being of the night-time economy and hospitality sectors.”

Balance and compromise 

While Kill acknowledged the importance of fair labour practices and workers’ rights, he emphasised the “necessity for balance and compromise”.

“The current situation, detrimental to all stakeholders, demands a prompt resolution in the best interest of the nation's economy”, the CEO continued.

On Wednesday 8 November, RMT also confirmed its members would soon vote on new proposals put forward​, including a backdated 2022 pay rise for staff and job security guarantees, in a bid to end wider industrial rail action over the Christmas period.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “I congratulate our members on delivering another impressive yes vote in our campaign on pensions, jobs and working conditions on London Underground. Our union will now consider the results and the next steps in this campaign.”

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