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Pre-Christmas rail strikes will be “catastrophic” for night-time economy, says NTIA

By | Published on Friday 25 November 2022

Night Time Industries Association

The Night Time Industries Association has stressed how damaging the latest rail strikes in the UK will be for bars, clubs, venues and other night-time businesses, coming as they do in the middle of the key Christmas party season.

Indeed, NTIA boss Michael Kill says next month’s strike action will be “catastrophic” for bars, clubs and music venues, fearing that the strikes could result in a big drop in the number of people having nights out in December, certainly on the strike days, and maybe more generally.

“The announcement today of further strike action during the festive period will be catastrophic”, says Kill. “These sporadic weekly or daily planned strikes are eating into consumer confidence, leaving many concerned about travelling”.

The night-time sector was hoping for a better Christmas season this year, after business in December 2021 was hit by a new surge in COVID cases and mixed messaging from government that basically encouraged people to stay at home.

“Our industry is already suffering heavily from rising costs, as inflation reaches a 40 year high, consumer disposable income is at an all time low, coupled with rail strike action feel we are revisiting Christmas 2021”, he adds. “This year more than any other we are heavily reliant on this period to get through Q1 2023”.

The latest strikes were confirmed by the Rail, Maritime & Transport Union after its officials failed to reach an agreement with government and rail operators on pay and conditions for UK railway staff. The December strikes are set to take place on 13-14 and 16-17 Dec, with two further 48 hour strikes planned in January.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said in a statement: “Our message to the public is we are sorry to inconvenience you, but we urge you to direct your anger and frustration at the government and railway employers during this latest phase of action”.

Taking that on board was Robert Smith, who discovered yesterday that one of the strike days would coincide with the third night of The Cure’s upcoming Wembley Arena residency.

“13th… Noooooo”, he tweeted. “Wembley third night. What can we do? Apart from bring down the government in the next two weeks?”

Well, that’s an option. Or, can Robert Smith drive a bus?