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Industry bosses fear more train strikes could cost hospitality sector £1.5 billion

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Operators and trade body leaders have urged the government to step in to address ongoing rail strikes, as new analysis shows that a wave of industrial action set to hit the country in December is expected to cost the hospitality sector £1.5 billion.

UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls has written to Transport Secretary Mark Harper outlining the scale of the damage facing the sector, after analysis by the industry association showed that the level of disruption expected to be caused by the strikes would be similar to that of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 last year.

Strikes are due to be held on 13, 14, 16, and 17 December, as well as on a number of days at the beginning of January.

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Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s pub group, tweeted: “Train strikes during Christmas Party season disproportionately impact hospitality workers – costing our team hours and highly valuable tips. The damage is already being done and we need a quick resolution to these strikes. And we need it now. Right now.”

Nightcap boss Sarah Willingham said: “Train strikes! How is this allowed to happen during the busiest week of the year for both hospitality and retail? Hundreds of thousands jobs rely on Christmas trade and will be put at risk, not to mention our customers all looking forward to finally spending a Christmas together out in their favourite venues. The macro impact is huge. The impact on people’s mental health is immeasurable. After three stolen Christmases and the economy already on its knees, the government should not allow this to happen.”

Businesses have already seen large-scale cancellations, which are unlikely to be rescheduled, with UKHospitality saying this will have a “devastating impact” on the sector and its workforce at the most critical trading period of the year.

The Transport Secretary has been urged to bring all negotiating parties to the table to find a settlement to avoid strikes.

Ms Nicholls said: “The impact of rail strikes already this year has been devastating and wide-reaching, but this will pale in comparison to what we will see as a result of the upcoming strikes in December.

“This disruption will devastate hospitality businesses during its busiest period of the year and will once again force the public to cancel and rearrange plans, just as they were preparing for an uninterrupted Christmas. Businesses have already seen mass cancellations which won’t be rescheduled, costing the sector billions in lost sales.

“The Christmas period is not just good for businesses, it’s the most lucrative time for workers where they can benefit from additional overtime and higher levels of tips due to excess demand.

“These strikes damage all parts of society and it’s now time that the government proactively brings all partners to the table to deliver a solution that protects the nation’s workers and hospitality customers this Christmas.”

Tags : Fuller'sNightcapTrain strikesUKHospitality
Joshua Walton

The author Joshua Walton

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