Xmas rail strikes could cost UK hospitality £800m
The newly announced rail strikes over the Christmas season are set to hit the bar and restaurant industry hard, with UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls predicting an £800 million loss for the sector.
So far, the ongoing train strikes have cost the UK hospitality and night-time sector £3.5bn (US$4.3bn), and that figure could double if action takes place over the festive period.
Nicholls said: “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.
“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.’’
December’s planned industrial action, issued by the Aslef union, is scheduled for the beginning of the month (1-9 December), which are typically some of the busiest trading dates of the year for businesses.
“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,” continued Nicholls.
“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 reinforces 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.”
Recently, data from UKHospitality’s partnership with CGA by NIQ showed that Britain’s licensed venues have dropped below 100,000 for the first time since 2003.