Hospitality chief brands tube strike a ‘nightmare’ for industry

A sign informs passengers of a planned strike of London Underground staff at a tube station in London on August 5, 2015. London Underground staff walked off their posts on Wednesday to protest plans to run Tube trains all night at weekends, the second shutdown of the British capital's subway in under a month. The strike began at 6:30 pm (1730 GMT) August 5 and will run until August 7 morning, causing disruption for millions of commuters and tourists.  AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL        (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

The head of the British Hospitality Association has branded today’s tube strikes a “real nightmare” for restaurant and food businesses.

Industrial strike action by tube bosses over plans for a night service has led to the closure of underground stations today and the move is expected to hit the hospitality sector hard. When similar action took place last month, restaurants reported cancelled bookings and a fall in customers.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of The British Hospitality Association, said the dispute posed a major problem for the industry in London.

Ufi  CEO of  the British Hospitality Association at Avenue Resturant  in Westminster , London  07/08/14 Photographer : Sonja Horsman

The BHA’s Ufi Ibrahim says hospitality trade could be down by a quarter in London today because of the tube strikes.

“London’s economy is heavily reliant on its fast and reliable public transport network to move around the capital’s residents, tourists and visitors,” she said. “Strike action especially during busy summer months is a real nightmare for our hotel, restaurant and visitor attraction members who have to maintain high standards while facing the staff shortages and unpredictable customer footfall resulting from the transport challenges.”

Ibrahim said London needs the new round-the-clock tube service on weekends as soon as possible if the city is to keep up with the likes of New York and Berlin, and to support London’s 24-hour lifestyle.

She urged the unions to call off their strike action and allow London to continue to welcome visitors with open arms.

“According to latest figures online searches for hotels and accommodation in London fell by almost a quarter during the last tube strike action and we expect this to be the case again. We hope that trade union leaders will be able to avoid further strike action in the future so our members can continue to welcome guests uninterrupted and to protect London’s place as the top destination in the world.”

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