RMT's Mick Lynch responds to pub bosses calling for end to rail strikes

02 December 2022 by
RMT's Mick Lynch responds to pub bosses calling for end to rail strikes

RMT union leader Mick Lynch has called on the hospitality industry to lobby the government to take urgent action to avoid upcoming rail strikes.

In a letter to hospitality bosses, Lynch claimed private rail companies would "not lose a penny" on strike days due to government backing while pubs and restaurants faced disruption.

It comes after executives from nine pub and bar groups including Fuller's, Drake & Morgan and Young's, which represent 30,000 team members between them, sent an open letter to Lynch on 25 November calling for a "quick resolution" to the issue.

The strikes are due to take place on 13, 14, 16, 17 December and 3, 4, 6, 7 January, a period cited by UKHospitality as the industry's busiest part of the year.

The pub executives' letter said: "As we're sure you're aware, train strikes during the Christmas party season disproportionately impact front line hospitality workers – costing our hard-working team members hours and highly valuable Christmas tips. The four weeks prior to Christmas account for a large percentage of our team members' annual income – so the proposed strikes have a huge impact on their earnings potential."

The letter said operators had already been hit by Christmas cancellations and that the impact of the strike would be "devastating".

Lynch responded to the letter on 29 November, asking its signatories to "work together" with the RMT to "persuade the government to take urgent action to resolve the rail dispute".

He said: "We understand the impact that these rail strikes are having on your sector at this time of year, yet while you face disruption to your business at this critical time, the private rail businesses we are in dispute with will not lose a penny.

"The government's actions also mean that the train operating companies have no incentive to settle the dispute. On the basis of answers given in parliament by the government, we calculate that by the end of the next round of strikes the government will have bailed out the train companies to the tune of £318m to cover the cost of the strikes."

Lynch claimed that the strikes in the run up to Christmas were "a direct consequence" of actions taken by secretary of state for transport Mark Harper and called on hospitality businesses to write to him calling for an end to the dispute.

Harper this week wrote to Lynch stating that his role was to "facilitate and support" discussions between unions and employers rather than negotiate himself.

The full list of signatories for the open letter to Lynch included:

  • Simon Emeny, chief executive, Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
  • Simon Longbottom, chief executive, Stonegate Group
  • Charlie Gilkes, co-founder & CEO, Inception Group
  • Rob Pitcher, chief executive, Revolution Bars Group
  • Nick Pring, director, Urban Pubs & Bars
  • Ed Martin, co-founder, ETM Group
  • Jillian MacLean MBE, chief executive officer, Drake & Morgan
  • Clive Watson, chairman, City Pub Company
  • Simon Dodd, chief executive, Young and Co.'s Brewery PLC
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