Night Time Industries Association says railroad strikes ‘compromise safety’

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has criticized rail strikes planned for this month as “jeopardizing the safety” of travellers.

This week, the RMT union announced that “more than 50,000 railway workers will walk off the job as part of a 3-day national strike later this month, in the biggest dispute on the network since 1989”.

The nationwide strikes are due to take place on June 21, 23 and 25, meaning those traveling to Worthy Farm for Glastonbury 2022 – June 22-26 – could be disrupted. Other events affected in the same week include the British Athletics Championships in Manchester and concerts by Elton John and the Rolling Stones at BST Hyde Park.

Reacting to the planned strike, NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “The announcement of UK-wide rail strikes has sent shockwaves through the industry amid concerns over safety staff and public, and the potential impact on trade.

“Limited rail services across the UK will leave many people stranded at night, compromising safety with very few alternative transport services available.”

Kill added: “Transportation infrastructure in the nighttime economy is vitally important to our recovery from the pandemic, particularly as we enter the peak summer season for festivals and events, and a critical time for tourism, which relies heavily on public transport.

Glastonbury festival goers. CREDIT: Rob Stothard/Getty Images

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said of the strike: “Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations the rail industry, with the support of the Government, has not took their concerns seriously.

“We have a cost of living crisis and it is unacceptable for railway workers to lose their jobs or face another year of wage freezes while inflation is at 11.1% and rising. Our union will now embark on a sustained industrial action campaign that will shut down the rail system.

He continued: “Rail companies make at least £500million in profits a year, while Fat Cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic. This injustice fuels the anger of our members and their determination to obtain a fair settlement.

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of Network Rail, added: “There are two weeks left before the first strike is scheduled. We will use this time to continue talking to our unions and, through compromise and common sense on both sides, we hope to find a solution and avoid the damage that a strike would cause to all parties involved.

Glastonbury returns this month after a two-year hiatus enforced by COVID, with Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar topping the list this weekend.

Andrew B. Reiter