Rail strikes to cause ‘massive’ £540 million hit to hospitality sector, industry warns

·1-min read
Hospitality venues fear revenue loss due to rail strike (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
Hospitality venues fear revenue loss due to rail strike (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

Rail strikes next week will cause a £540 million loss to the hospitality sector, industry chiefs have warned.

From Tuesday, more than 40,000 rail workers will walk out, crippling Britain’s transport network and threatening GCSE and A-level exams as well as hospital appointments.

Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), has said he will not back down until workers are given a pay rise large enough to match price rises.

Hospitality chiefs fear spending will plummet by 20 per cent in towns and city centres due to the strikes.

Tony Sophoclides, strategic affairs director of trade body UK Hospitality, told The Times: “Our most acute concerns are in the city centres.

“Working from home is already affecting the recovery and making it more of an uphill battle. Rail strikes will have a massive impact.”

“Getting people physically into our venues is incredibly important to drive the recovery.

“In turn the recovery is important to the nation because we know that we can create jobs, in the same way that we did coming out of the financial crisis in 2008.”

The difficulty of unions, rail bosses and ministers to see eye to eye was compounded last night by the announcement of further strike ballots by the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA).

The union said hundreds of workers at Southeastern and Great Western Railway will vote on strike action which could take place at the end of July.

The TSSA said it was demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions and a pay rise reflecting the cost of living.

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned on Thursday that rail workers risk “striking themselves” out of a job.

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