Economy

Cancel rail strikes to save Xmas party season, pleads Fullers pub boss

Fullers pub chain boss appeals to RMT union to cancel rail strike to save Christmas party time

Rail strikes in the run-up to Christmas will wreck office parties in a devastating blow to the hospitality industry, the boss of one of Britain’s biggest pub chains has warned.

Fuller’s chief Simon Emeny described the planned walkouts as ‘a cloud on the horizon’ that risked derailing the first festive season without Covid restrictions since 2019.

He said: ‘I would call on the RMT to cancel these strikes and make sure the hospitality sector can have the Christmas that they deserve.’

Simon Emeny, Fuller chief of staff (pictured) described the planned walkouts to be a ‘cloud on the horizon’ which could disrupt the vital festive season

The strike was planned by the railway union for four days in December, and four days January.

UK Hospitality, which represents pubs, bars and restaurants, said the strikes will cost the sector £1.5billion in lost sales and says it is ‘essential’ strikes are averted. 

Speaking to the BBC, Emeny said: ‘Christmas bookings are absolutely excellent.

‘If you are an office and have planned a Christmas party in a pub in London, that’s going to be a big occasion, the first time you have your teams back together since 2019. And now people are very worried as to whether they’re still going to hold those events.’

Emeny said staff who desperately need extra hours and tips will be the ones that ‘suffer the most’.

But, he believes the strikes would be cancelled or delayed. He added: ‘What we need is a speedy resolution not a resolution at the last minute because people will have changed their plans by then.’

British Beer and Pub Association boss Emma McClarkin said the strikes will be a ‘serious blow’.

She said pubs ‘desperately need’ a boost and wanted an urgent resolution of the dispute.

Mick Lynch, RMT leader, has attributed the blame to Government for ‘prolonging the dispute’.

He Ministers should compensate hospitality companies for any losses.

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