The Transport Strikes Before Christmas!

The Transport Strikes Before Christmas!

The hospitality and retail sectors in NI are hoping the transport strikes don’t prevent the general public from coming out and spending this Christmas.

As the festive poem asserts, “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”, well the hospitality industry will be hoping the transport strikes don’t prevent the general public from “stirring” as bars, cafés, pubs, restaurants and hotels, many of whom are still struggling for many reasons since Covid, seem to be facing yet another hurdle.

Bus and rail services, which were affected by the 24-hour strike on Friday 1st December, will be affected on three more days during December, with confirmation on 24-hour strikes taking place on Friday 15th, Saturday 16th and Friday 22nd December. All will cause major disruption to hospitality business during the festive season.

Reacting to hospitality and retail business owners’ frustration when these now confirmed strike dates were proposed, Hospitality Ulster, Chief Executive, Colin Neill, and Retail NI, Chief Executive Glyn Roberts, said: ‘The new proposed transport strike dates organised for around three of the busiest days of the year for the hospitality and retail sectors, across two vital weekends, has understandably left our members frustrated and anxious about what should be one of the most active periods for pubs, restaurants, and retailers across Northern Ireland.

‘It is no secret that custom and footfall around Christmas is used to sustain businesses in the leaner months of the new year, so it is hugely disappointing and somewhat unfair that this further planned strike action will disproportionately target and impact our sectors when they are already struggling. The timing of these strikes and the understanding from media reports about when they kick in are obviously set to cause as much disruption as possible. Business owners, staff, shoppers, and customers will suffer.

‘We are committed to helping resolve this dispute where we can, and the offer still stands to meet directly with the Secretary of State to see what can be done to stave off the worst of business impacts that these strikes will have. This is not a moment for the Secretary of State to stick his head in the sand. Business closure is on the horizon if he doesn’t intervene.’