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Government Must Ensure Minimum Rail Service or Provide Compensation

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has said the government must ensure a minimum rail service in the lead up to and over the festive period or compensate businesses and workers for any losses.

The call follows warnings train strikes could last another six months as union members back further action.

More than 20,000 union members were balloted across the 14 companies contracted to the Department for Transport, with 90% voting to give the union a continued mandate for strikes, on a 64% turnout.

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said the members had given the union “a decisive mandate for future industrial action” while it pursued a negotiated settlement in the long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

This is the fourth time the RMT has secured a six-month mandate for national industrial action in the long-running dispute threatening once again the hospitality sectors busiest period.

Ms Nicholls wrote on X, (formerly known as Twitter “While we recognise right to strike, we urge all sides to avoid damaging the hospitality sector at its busiest trading period – in the run up to Christmas last year we lost more than £1.5bn due to cancellations. Government must ensure minimum service or compensate our businesses and workers.”

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) offered train staff in the RMT a 9% two-year deal early in 2023, which was rejected by the union.

A spokesperson for RDG said: “We want to resolve this dispute and are acutely aware of the damaging impact it’s having on our passengers, our people and the many businesses up and down the country who rely on rail. We call on the RMT executive to bring an end to this dispute and put the deal – which offers job security guarantees and a pay rise of up to 13% to the lowest paid workers – to its members so we can end the uncertainty and move forward with delivering a better railway for our customers.”