More rail strikes over the Christmas and New Year period threaten to add more pressure to the already beleaguered hospitality industry.
RMT members have voted to strike for 48-hor periods on 13th and 14th and 16th and 17th December, and 3rd and 4th and 6th and 7th January.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, summed up the thoughts of all: “This is devastating news for pubs.”
She added: Businesses across the country will be relying on a busy Christmas period to pull them through what is set to be an incredibly difficult winter in the months that follow. Pubs have been hoping to make the most of Christmas party bookings and festive gatherings for the first time in three years.
“News of these rail strikes in the weeks leading up to Christmas will hit pubs in town and city centres hard. The week of the strikes is usually the busiest in the year for our industry, but instead of supporting pubs, customers will be cancelling bookings and staying home, whilst staffing shortages will be exacerbated by a lack of transport options for employees.
“Our industry desperately needs this Christmas boost. We urgently need a resolution to reinstate train services and ensure that customers and staff can travel easily and confidently, or the impact on trade will be catastrophic.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “Continued rail strikes have had a huge impact on our hospitality sector. Preventing staff from making it into work and disrupting consumers’ plans meaning a huge drop in sales for venues across the sector.
“Further strikes during the busiest time of the year for hospitality will be devastating, just as everyone was anticipating an uninterrupted Christmas period for the first time in three years.
“I’d encourage all parties to come together to find a resolution that can avoid further strikes and the disruption they cause both businesses and the public.”