Business leaders and retail and hospitality chiefs say continued train strikes could cause “incredible” damage to the UK.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is today holding the first of three strike days this week, with stations deserted this morning as half the UK’s rail lines are closed and only a fifth of services running.
Last-ditch talks failed to resolve the dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, meaning some 40,000 RMT members at Network Rail and 13 train operators have walked out.
Economists at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said the three strikes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday cost cost the UK economy at least £91m – and there are warnings the cost could be still higher, particularly in hospitality and retail.
The CEBR has predicted that almost 50% of the impact of the strikes will be felt on Tuesday, when there is also a strike on the London Underground.
Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, warned that the capital “cannot afford a summer of chaos on the railways and tube lines” and urged the RMT, Network Rail and the Government to start negotiating again.
He said: “While this strike will be damaging, a recession is looking likely regardless; as such, I wouldn’t pin an eventual recession on this strike.
“However, what is very worrying is the possibility that this dispute continues through the year and we see multiple strikes into the future.
“A week lost every month for the foreseeable future is going to do incredible short-term and long-term damage to the economy and the UK’s reputation as an attractive destination for investment.”https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.business-live.co.uk%2Feconomic-development%2Fbusiness-leaders-warn-train-strike-24279076&cre=center&cip=14&view=web
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, has warned that the rail strike could cost the hospitality sector up to £540m.
She said: “Fragile consumer confidence will take a further hit, thousands of people able and willing to spend money in hospitality venues across the country will be prevented from doing so, while staff will undoubtedly struggle to even get to work.