Skegness businesses worried about impact of rail strikes

A Skegness business owner has described upcoming rail strikes as “callous” and says they could have a detrimental impact on the town. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has confirmed that more than 50,000 railway staff will be striking across three days later this month. Workers will walk out on June 21, 23 and 25 – a Tuesday, Thursday and a Saturday.

The strikes are happening because of disputes over issues including pay and job cuts. A total of 13 train operators will be affected, including LNER and East Midlands Railway, both of which operate services at Skegness. Although it is yet to be confirmed which services will be affected, business owners in the town are already worried.

Read more: Woman used Facebook Live to ask for knife to stab police officer Taj Bola, who owns the Hive entertainment complex and The Royal Hotel in Skegness, said: “It is likely to have a detrimental effect because we do have good rail links with Nottingham which are very important for us. “You only have to look at the hordes of people who come off a train whenever it arrives in Skegness to see how important the rail links are for this town.

We do get a lot of people coming to the club who will perhaps be stuck for something to do on a weekend and they decide to come on the train for one night because it’s hassle-free. “I don’t see how those customers are going to be able to make alternative travel arrangements so it is a worrying time. We thought that the pandemic was hard but this year in many ways is actually harder.

“At least we had financial support from the government during Covid but it’s harder to do that with what we’re facing now. In the midst of all that, a strike is a very callous thing to do.” Speaking about the strike, East Midlands Railway said: “This will significantly reduce the level of services which East Midlands Railway is able to operate.

As a result, services are likely to be significantly disrupted, and customers who have booked to travel on the announced dates are advised to change their plans if they can. “Service information, timetables and your refund options will be available very shortly. Please continue to check the EMR website, information in stations and social media for the latest advice and information.”

Meanwhile, an LNER statement said: “We’ll be running fewer trains and the trains that are running are likely to be busier. The days either side of industrial action are also likely to be busy. “Whether you’re still travelling or your plans have changed there’s a few options for you.

We’ll update with a timetable as soon as possible, so that you know which trains are running on the [strike] dates.”

The train station in Skegness.The train station in Skegness.

Julieanne Bunce, who runs the North Parade Hotel, said: “I hadn’t heard about this until a guest actually rang me up yesterday asking to move their stay to later on in the month. It is likely to have an effect because we do get people coming down on the train and probably more so now with the cost of fuel going up. “I don’t think it will affect us personally because we’re already full that week with people who are coming down for the bowls tournaments, but I do think it will be hard for other businesses.

We’ve only had the one guest affected so far and hopefully there won’t be any more.” RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously. We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1pc and rising.

“Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system. Rail companies are making at least GBP500m a year in profits, whilst fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic. “This unfairness is fuelling our members anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.

RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways.”

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