A national strike on British railways would have a catastrophic effect on the live music and events industry if it takes place this summer, trade organizations warn.
More than 50,000 workers from Network Rail and 13 railway companies represented by the RMT union are set to leave on June 21 over a dispute over job cuts and a wage freeze, with further strikes planned for June 23 and 25.
Around 10,000 London Underground workers are also set to strike on June 21 in a separate dispute over pensions and job loss. The strikes are expected to cause major disruption and come at the height of the festival season, with Glastonbury taking place in Somerset from 22 June for the first time since the pandemic.
The GWR railway company, which operates Glastonbury’s nearest station, Castle Cary, said it hoped to keep trains running from London Paddington throughout the festival. But he said other parts of his network were likely to be “more affected” by the strike, and that customers “may have to consider alternative ways to get to the station serving Castle Cary.”
National Express, which provides buses from 70 locations, said it has seen a “significant increase” in travel bookings during scheduled rail strike days and is “working hard to increase availability where possible.”
More events are planned for this week, including a series of concerts featuring artists such as Elton John in Hyde Park and the British Athletics Championships in Manchester.
Michael Kill of the Night Time Industries Association, which represents nightclubs, event venues and festival organizers, said the proposed strike could be “disastrous” for a sector that he said has been “very fragile” since the pandemic and from -for costs. life crisis. “It just seems like there’s another barrier on every corner,” he said.
John Collins, chief executive of Live, the live music and entertainment trade association umbrella, said the move could be devastating for event organizers already struggling to recover from the pandemic, with small businesses likely to be hit the hardest.
“While our members understand RMT’s concerns, they are disappointed that this has come at a time when we are trying to rebuild the live music industry after nearly two years of closure,” he said.
“This is not just the Glastonbury of this world. These are small festivals and concerts where people pay £8 or £15 for a ticket and customers may think “I’m going to have to not go”. This means that the event may take place, but you may not get the profit you were hoping for, which could be critical for business this year of all years.”
Announcing the strike on June 7, RMT said the railroad workers had been treated “horribly” and that…