The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has responded to the announcement of further rail strikes in December, saying the news will mean the death knell for many night time economy businesses.

On 5 December, the RMT union announced it had rejected a pay offer and would strike beginning 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve until 7 a.m. on 27 December. This is an addition to previously announced strikes from 13-14 and 16-17 December.

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls responded as well, saying strikes have already cost venues £1.5bn in lost sales.

Michael Kill, CEO, NTIA, said: “Further strike action across the Christmas period announced yesterday will be the death knell for many NTE businesses. These businesses are suffering heavily, with thousands of bookings being cancelled and some attempting to bring bookings forward to avoid strike action, creating further chaos.

“In previous strike action days, we have seen in some cases up to 40% lost in trade, with billions of pounds in revenue in the balance over the holiday period, which they are relying on to survive.

“It is clear public opinion is shifting, with many angry at being unable to enjoy a traditional festive period after 3 years of disruption. The actions of the unions and rail companies in reaching a resolution at such a critical time is unacceptable.

“Our sector will not survive the current cost inflation crisis and further industrial action, and will require a Government intervention and further support for businesses at the sharpest end of this crisis.”

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has also responded, saying the decision will “decimate” December for the pub industry.

Emma McClarkin, CEO, BBPA, said: “The week of the strikes is usually the busiest of the year for our industry, but instead of being able to trade normally for the first time in three years, pubs in towns and cities across the UK are now seeing swathes of people rearranging Christmas parties and cancelling bookings, and news of further strikes from Christmas eve has only added to the dire situation.

“These were bookings our pubs desperately need, COVID was unbelievably tough but what we’re facing now with spiralling costs and people watching more and more what they’re spending is hitting businesses even harder.

“Pubs really need this Christmas trade to see them through the quieter months that follow, especially after two years of restrictions, but now it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see how many will make it through until Spring because December trade is being decimated. People aren’t confident they’ll be able to travel next week and so it’s almost too late now to save the festive season from ruin for pubs.”