New strikes announced by Aslef will hit hospitality during the critical festive period and disrupt its busiest trading month.
The union will stage a series of one-day strikes between Saturday, 2nd, and Friday, 8th December. There will also be an overtime ban between Friday, 1st and Saturday, 9th December.
“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 £800 million,” said UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.
“The ongoing rail dispute has already cost the sector £3.5 billion over the past year and a half and continues to disrupt businesses, prevent staff from working, and interrupt families’ Christmas plans.
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“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 who have reached an agreement to avoid strikes over Christmas.”
She added: “Hospitality businesses rely on revenue made during the busy festive period to see them through the fallow months of January to March, so it’s essential strikes during December are avoided.
“The significant impact to trading that these strikes will cause reinforce 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.”