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Train strikes could cost hospitality £350m

Rail union Aslef is planning to take industrial action later this month, with UKHospitality predicting a huge loss for the hospitality industry.

train strikes affect hospitality
It’s estimated that train strikes have cost the UK hospitality sector £4 billion in lost sales

The strikes will affect different train operators each day from 30 January to 5 February, with an overtime ban also in place.

Aslef represents 96% of train drivers in the UK and has called 14 one-day strikes during the ongoing 20-month dispute.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, said: “Once again, hospitality businesses are left dismayed by strike action which will be significantly detrimental to sales and see bookings cancelled.

“January and February are already two of the quieter months of the year for venues and this disruption will make it even more painful.

“We estimate this set of strikes will cost hospitality almost £350 million [US$442m], on top of the £4 billion [US$5bn] in lost sales the sector has already had to withstand.

“We continue to urge all parties involved to urgently reach an agreement and resolve this dispute. Ongoing strike action hurts businesses, prevents people from getting to work and significantly erodes confidence in the rail network.”

Industrial action also took place over the festive season, with UKHospitality anticipating a resulting £800m (US$1bn) loss for hospitality.

Aslef’s general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We have given the government every opportunity to come to the table but it has now been a year since we had any contact from the Department for Transport. It’s clear they do not want to resolve this dispute.

“Many of our members have now not had a single penny increase to their pay in half a decade, during which inflation soared and, with it, the cost of living.

“The government and train operating companies must come to the table with a realistic offer so we can end this dispute and work together to ensure the future of our railways.”

Last year, 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.

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