Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Christmas strikes to cost hospitality £800m

Published:  17 November, 2023

ASLEF, the UK’s train drivers’ union, has announced a ‘rolling programme’ of strikes during the festive month.

The ongoing rail dispute is said to have cost the hospitality sector £3.5bn over the past year and a half, with the new Christmas strikes expected to add £800m to that total, during one of the busiest weeks of the year for hospitality.

The walkouts are scheduled to take place between 2 and 8 December, and are an unfortunate setback for the trade, after the RMT agreed to avoid strikes over the festive period. 

UKHospitality CEO, Kate 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 £800m.

“The ongoing rail dispute has already cost the sector £3.5bn over the past year and a half and continues to disrupt businesses, prevent staff from working and interrupt families’ Christmas plans.

“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.

“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.”

Separately, the RMT, which represents transport workers, has agreed a deal in principle with train operators to resolve the ongoing rail dispute, quelling some fears of a repeat of last year’s Christmas strikes, which cost the hospitality sector £1.5bn.

Members of the union will vote on 30 November, before ASLEF’s strikes, on whether to agree to the deal.

ASLEF strike timetable:

Saturday 2 December at East Midlands Railway and LNER

Sunday 3 December at Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern Thameslink, and West Midlands Trains

Tuesday 5 December at C2C and Greater Anglia

Wednesday 6 December at Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, SWR main line, SWR depot drivers, and Island Line

Thursday 7 December at CrossCountry and GWR

Friday 8 December at Northern and TPT