Further strike action expected to cause Christmas trade disruption

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

What days are the latest rail strikes on?

Related tags Strike action Industrial action Network rail Trade union Government Pubs Christmas

The hospitality sector is braced for further Christmas disruption after train drivers announced plans to stage a fresh round of strikes in early December.

The Aslef union said it would be running a “rolling programme” of walkouts between December 2 and 8, while drivers would also refuse to work any overtime from December 1 to 9.

The strikes will be staggered across companies along the following schedule:

  • 2 December: East Midlands Railway and LNER
  • 3 December: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern Thameslink, and West Midlands Trains
  • 5 December: C2C and Greater Anglia
  • 6 December: Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, SWR main line, SWR depot drivers, and Island Line
  • 7 December: CrossCountry and GWR
  • 8 December: Northern and TPT

It is expected that services will be cancelled on strike days, causing significant disruption for passengers.

Critical period

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These strikes will hit hospitality businesses at the start of the critical festive period and will devastate trading during one of the busiest weeks of the year, costing the sector up to £800m.

“The ongoing rail dispute has already cost the sector £3.5bn over the past year and a half, and continues to disrupt businesses, prevent staff from working and interrupt families’ Christmas plans.

“I would urge all parties to get back round the table to resume negotiations and work urgently to reach a solution that avoids these devastating strikes, including following the lead of the RMT, which has reached an agreement to avoid strikes over Christmas.

“Hospitality businesses rely on revenue made during the busy festive period to see them through the fallow months of January to March, so it is essential strikes during December are avoided.

“The significant impact to trading these strikes will cause reinforces the critical need for the Chancellor to extend business rates support at the Autumn Statement next week, to help businesses navigate and offset the damage of ongoing rail strikes.”

Hugely damaging

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “The year’s ongoing rail strikes have been hugely damaging for pubs across the country, costing our member businesses millions. News of more to come, especially in our sector’s crucial festive period, has been met with dismay by our pubs and consumers.

"We desperately need a resolution to be found, as has hopefully been with RMT, to bring an end to the uncertainty of transport for staff and pub goers alike.”

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan told the BBC: “Our members have spoken and we know what they think. Every time they vote - and that they have voted overwhelmingly - for strike action in pursuit of a proper pay rise it is a clear rejection of the offer that was made in April.”

Rail workers in the RMT union are currently voting on whether to accept a deal in their dispute over pay, job security and conditions. The vote is expected to close on November 30.

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