Hotelier: Rail strikes cost me half a million – it’s time to get round the table
As if life wasn’t tough enough for the hospitality industry as it recovers from the pandemic and battles through economic headwinds, for Tony Matharu – owner of three hotels across London – there is another growing concern – rail strikes.
“Strikes are difficult for all businesses, especially rail strikes which negatively impact most businesses.” We are talking two days before the third of three strikes across a week on national rail networks – bringing chaos to commuters, as well as to runners of the London Marathon trying to get to London.
“It’s so frustrating for there to be constraints (on travel),” he says. “We’ve had events cancelled.”
The hotelier behind Blue Orchids Hotels estimates the cost to his hotels alone of the strikes will be around £500,000.
The entrepreneur, whose three hotels across the capital host corporate and other events as well as guests, is calling for all parties involved in the ongoing strikes to get round the table.
“I believe that employers and employees, whether they are unionised or not, need to find a way of entering into meaningful dialogue in order to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
“There’s no point in taking entrenched views.”
Katherine Fleming, from the Northbank Business Improvement District, one of the many London-based organisations involved in the Matharu-founded Central London Alliance, believes that Business Improvement Districts and initiatives like the Central London Alliance can drive the sort of public and private sector partnership vital for London’s recovery.
She cites the partnership work to transform the southern side of Aldwych, abutting Somerset House, in Westminster.
“People want space, people want to enjoy London and this is going to be another world class destination for us.”
Further rail strikes are expected over the course of the coming weeks. Union boss Mick Lynch of the RMT has described further action as almost “inevitable.”