The owners of UK cocktail group Nightcap have called on the union RMT to switch the rail strike dates in exchange for free drinks.
Co-founders Sarah Willingham and Michael Toxvaerd – who own the likes of Cocktail Club, Barrio and the Adventure Bar Group – pleaded with the RMT to move their planned walkout from mid-December to mid-January.
“December should be sacrosanct,” they said. “We are calling on the RMT union to move the strikes to the third week of January and we shall offer a free drink in our Nightcap bars to all RMT members (on their days off) in January.”
The RMT declined to comment.
Union bosses announced on Tuesday that 40,000 of its members will walk out on 13, 14, 16, 17 December as well as 3, 4, 6, 7 January. This coincides with the hospitality and retail sector’s busiest trading period.
RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch yesterday said the strikes will go on “until we have a reasonable offer that we can put to our members.”
Nightcap is not the only one to call out the devastating impact the strikes will have on businesses.
According to analysis by trade association UKHospitality, the fresh wave of strikes will cost the industry £1.5bn.
“This disruption will devastate hospitality businesses during its busiest period of the year and will once again force the public to cancel and rearrange plans, just as they were preparing for an uninterrupted Christmas,” said UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.
“Businesses have already seen mass cancellations which won’t be rescheduled, costing the sector billions in lost sales.”
For his side, Lynch shifted the blame to the train operators his members are in a dispute with.
“They made profit throughout Covid and they made profit throughout these disputes, where they have been indemnified for every day of strike action, while all the businesses in London and all across this country have been suffering losses,” the union’s general secretary told journalists on Thursday, following a meeting with transport secretary Mark Harper.
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson told City A.M. the claims were misleading as “no one makes money from strikes.”
“Since franchising ended during the pandemic, the government has paid train companies a performance-related fixed fee to run services – like many other contractors,” they added.
“Rail companies typically operate on a 0.5 per cent profit margin.”