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Pubs and restaurants face surge in Christmas party cancellations over strikes

Hospitality bosses have warned over growing cancellations to Christmas bookings (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Hospitality bosses have warned over growing cancellations to Christmas bookings (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Pubs and restaurants are expecting up to 40% of bookings on strike days next week to be cancelled as Christmas party celebrations are disrupted by the UK rail strikes.

Industry bosses have warned that strikes throughout this month are expected to cost hospitality firms around £1.5 billion.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) will take part in a series of strike days from Tuesday in a long running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

The RMT is due to hold strikes on December 13, 14, 16 and 17, as well as from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 7am on 27 December.

Kate Nicholls
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality (UKH/PA)

Network Rail has said passengers should only seek to travel “if necessary” on these dates.

Union leaders have continued to blame the Government for “blocking” a deal to end the dispute.

Trade body UKHospitality has warned that the strikes are now leading to a surge in cancelled bookings.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the industry group, said: “UKHospitality continues to anticipate that the rail strikes throughout December will cost hospitality businesses around £1.5 billion in lost sales and subsequent impacts.

“The most severe impact we’re seeing now is on consumer confidence and the growing cancellations businesses are seeing as a result of the strike.

“Feedback we’re hearing from members is that cancellations were already around 20-30% and with the news of no breakthrough and additional strikes further impacting consumer confidence, we’re expecting that cancellation rate to rise to 35-40%.”