Hospitality body calls on rail unions to resume negotiations

22nd September 2023 | Jack Oliver

UKHospitality has called on the Government and rail unions and companies to resume negotiations as a “matter of urgency”.

The group said that £3.5bn in lost sales has already been racked up due to industrial action, including upcoming strikes in September and October.

Industrial action has been announced by the ASLEF Union on Saturday 30 December and Wednesday 4 October. The union also announced a ban on overtime on Friday 29 September and from Monday 2 to Friday 6 October.

This comes as the Transport Committee recommends that sectors such as hospitality are afforded protection in upcoming rail legislation.

The committee published a report that outlines nine tests that proposed minimum service levels must meet. One of the rules put forward states that a minimum service level for rail should protect industries that cannot adopt flexible and remote working patterns, such as hospitality.

UKHospitality chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “As we have seen over the past year, hospitality businesses and their staff continue to suffer as collateral damage as a result of ongoing rail strikes.

“The elephant in the room is the complete lack of progress made in recent months by the negotiating parties.

“It’s time that everyone involved gets back round the table to reach a resolution that sees the end to rail strikes.

“While the Transport Committee is absolutely right to point out that sectors acutely affected by rail strikes, like hospitality, are properly considered and protected by future legislation, the real priority needs to be reaching a resolution to the current dispute.

“This is especially important for hospitality, as we approach the busy Christmas period, the revenues of which are often crucial to help venues through the fallow period of January to March.”

Revolution Bars was one of many companies hit hard by industrial action the last festive period, seeing its share price fall by over a quarter in January.

Nicholls added: “Without an urgent end to this dispute, the £3.5 billion that hospitality has lost in sales will only continue to grow and that is not good for the thousands of hospitality businesses and the millions of people they employ.”

UKHospitality’s sentiments are shared by a number of industry figures, such as BrewDog boss James Brown, who earlier this year called on the Government to “get a grip” on ongoing train strikes.


Looking for more retail news? you might find these interesting