Since I started working in London, I of course have come to rely very heavily on public transport to get to work. I have been quite fortunate on previous occasions when rail strikes have been scheduled, I have always been able to make my way in, with Great Northern still offering a fairly decent service on the East Coast Mainline. My short journey from Hatfield to was Kings Cross relatively unscathed.

So it was with great surprise when on Tuesday evening I checked my train times for the following morning, and I received a blank page! I refreshed the page, thinking I must have made a mistake.

Again no trains running for the entire day.

With no access to my car (The Wife needing it to get to her own place of work), and the idea of a 2+ hour bus journey into Central London, just not being viable or productive, a day working from home it was to be (it was unbeknownst to myself until later that Tuesday evening that I would also have the company of my 4-year-old son, who’s Nursery teachers were also taking Strike action!!)

Not ideal, but further options were few and far between.

How much damage are these strikes causing the Hospitality Sector?

It got me thinking (certainly not for the first time), how much damage are these Strikes really having on the Industry I work in? Obviously, if a chef is unable to get to work due to a lack of transport, they can’t exactly take the option to work from home.

One of the main benefits of having the bulk of my staff within London, meant from an availability point of view, there were very few issues – moving around London is still fairly straightforward on the London Underground. This of course was not the case last year with the ongoing underground strikes taking place. Pictures of overcrowded bus stations and packed buses spring straight back to mind, along with the calls of Chefs struggling to make their way to work…

Fast forward to National rail strikes and another Issue presents itself, the City dies a death….

  • Restaurant and Hotel bookings go down,
  • Events are cancelled or postponed
  • Office buildings shut down as workers work from home

The result: A lot of Chefs are out of work and the Hospitality Industry as a whole takes a massive hit.

With overall footfall in London still below levels pre-Covid, London in particular still struggles to get itself properly going again.

£100m in lost sales…

The Chief Executive of Hospitality Kate Nicholls estimates strike action this week will set back the Industry a further £100m in lost sales.

With no real sign of an agreement being made on the sides of the Unions and Government, and with more Industrial action likely, more of the same is likely to continue.

However, I do question now just how much effect Strike Action is having on the General public and business’s outside of Hospitality.

People and businesses are now preparing better, and making alternative arrangements to combat strike action, whether that be simply working from home or staying away from the Capital in general.

With fewer and fewer people being affected and relying on public transport on these days of action, it does beg the question should there not be another way forward, as the rail Industry in particular could potentially be risking its future as more and more people adapt to getting by without it (maybe something to discuss in another post for now).

One group that will continue to suffer is the hospitality Industry and all those who either work directly and Indirectly with it… it is a particularly tough time being a freelance chef, especially at this time of year, throw in some additional strike action and it really does make things 10 × harder to keep consistent work, as hotels and restaurants of course must act to counteract the lack of business they experience themselves.

At least it is out of the way this week, with nothing yet scheduled for further Rail Strike action…

Oh wait, we must do it all over again tomorrow. I suppose, at least, my youngest will be back at Nursery!

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