More Christmas rail strikes are expected to have a disastrous effect on West End merchants.

The RMT has scheduled strikes starting at 6 pm on Christmas Eve, which might make it difficult for shoppers to enter city centres for the busy Boxing Day sales.

The new days, which include December 13–14 and December 16–17, are in addition to the strikes the following week.

READ MORE: MORE RAIL STRIKES ON THE WAY AS RMT REJECTS EIGHT PERCENT PAY RISE

Dee Corsi, the CEO of The New West End Company, which represents over 600 retailers, warned that the strikes are “an enormous blow to the West End and the Londoners that work across it”.

She said: “To cause such disruption during the single busiest trading period for the high street will be a crushing disappointment not only to the business owners looking to continue their recovery, but also those working in retail and hospitality who will now struggle to get to work.”

While foot traffic is still rebounding from the pandemic, BRC’s insight director Kris Hamer warned that the strikes will restrict both commuter and shopping travel.

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Returning customers from Black Friday increased foot traffic at UK retail locations in November, according to research from Springboard.

The numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels, despite the recent improvements.

The strikes, according to Hamer, will surely make things more difficult for some businesses.

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Hamer said: “For many retailers, the weeks running up to and around Christmas are the most important sales period of the year,”.

“Strikes can make it difficult for customers making trips to major cities to buy gifts and make arrangements for the festive season.”

Following their rejection of a revised salary offer from train operators, rail workers are planning to strike.

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A wage increase of eight percent over two years and a promise of no forced layoffs until April 2024 were the terms of the Rail Delivery Group’s (RDG) offer to the RMT union.

Source: Retail Gazette

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