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National rail strike will ‘jeopardise’ hospitality recovery, says UKH

UKH is reportedly hearing reports from Scotland of cancelled hotel bookings due to the dispute between Aslef and Scotrail

UKHospitality has warned that RMT’s proposed national rail strike this summer will “further jeopardise” the recovery of hospitality businesses working to rebuild following the pandemic, in the face of rising costs and a fall in consumer confidence.

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, said disruption to the rail network will discourage both UK and international tourism. She added that the body is already hearing reports from Scotland of cancelled hotel bookings due to the dispute between Aslef and Scotrail.

This comes as railway workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action across Network Rail and the train operating companies, reportedly marking the biggest endorsement for industrial action by railway workers since privatisation.

Transport for London (TfL) recently threatened 600 job losses on the network, and 4,000 station tube staff are consequently planning to strike.

The RMT revealed that 89% of railway workers voted in favour of strike action, and that the union will now be demanding “urgent” talks with Network Rail and the 15 train operating companies that were balloted to find a negotiated settlement to the dispute over pay, jobs and safety.

Nicholls said: “A lack of commuter trains bringing people into towns and cities will further set back the recovery of our high streets and will also deter people from going out in the evening – especially women and vulnerable people who may rely on trains to get them home and feel safe late at night.

“Strikes would inevitably damage our already fragile hospitality businesses, which would have a negative knock-on effect to the wider UK economy.”

Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said: “Today’s overwhelming endorsement by railway workers is a vindication of the union’s approach and sends a clear message that members want a decent pay rise, job security and no compulsory redundancies.

“Our NEC will now meet to discuss a timetable for strike action from mid-June, but we sincerely hope ministers will encourage the employers to return to the negotiating table and hammer out a reasonable settlement with the RMT.”

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