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Pubs and bars urge Aslef to follow in lead of RMT ahead of rail strikes

Hospitality businesses have urged Aslef to follow the lead of RMT ahead of week-long planned disruption (Revolution Bars Group/PA)
Hospitality businesses have urged Aslef to follow the lead of RMT ahead of week-long planned disruption (Revolution Bars Group/PA)

Hospitality businesses have cheered Britain’s biggest rail workers’ union accepting a pay deal, but urged Aslef to follow suit ahead of week-long planned disruption.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union voted overwhelmingly to accept a deal to end their long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

It follows an 18-month row with the Government, resulting in regular strike action causing havoc for passengers across the country.

The vote has been welcomed by hospitality firms, including pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels who have been hammered by strike action leading to fewer commuters and travellers into city centres.

Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UKHospitality, which represents more than 130,000 venues, said: “Hospitality businesses will be breathing a sigh of relief that the critical festive period will be protected from strikes from RMT members.

“Businesses, workers and the public now have a degree of certainty when it comes to their Christmas plans.

“We are not out of the woods yet, with strikes by Aslef set to cause significant disruption next week.

“I would urge Aslef to follow the lead of the RMT and commit to holding no further strikes in December and the New Year.

“Any further strikes would decimate the essential Christmas trading period for businesses, prevent millions from working and interrupt families’ festive plans.”

Members of Aslef, which represents train drivers, at 16 train operating companies are planning to walk out over a series of strikes between Saturday and December 8, and will refuse to work overtime from Friday to December 8.

UKHospitality said the planned rolling strikes and overtime ban is estimated to cost the sector at least £500 million in lost sales.

Rob Pitcher, the chief executive of Revolution Bars Group, which runs 45 Revolution bars across the UK and other venues, joined calls to Aslef ahead of expected nationwide disruption.

He said: “We are very pleased to see that the RMT won’t be striking anytime soon but hope for this to be permanent.

“We really need Aslef to do the right thing by the British public too.

“Everyone deserves their first uninterrupted Christmas season in four years.”