Businesses near to Leicester Train Station have spoken out about the financial hit they’ve taken as a result of this week’s rail strikes, with some labelling them as “ridiculous.”
The strikes, which began on Tuesday (June 21) and centre on pay and redundancy issues, are the biggest to hit the UK in more than 30 years.
Businesses trading close to Leicester Train Station, say that they have suffered huge losses as a result of reduced services which have been introduced to cope with the UK wide disruption.
Earlier today, Josh Lee-Bradley, manager of the Parcel Yard pub, told the Leicester Times that business had been really struggling since strikes began.
“Alot of our custom comes from commuters, so with the rail strikes at the moment we are struggling quite badly here, just because we haven’t got our usual customer that does come through on a day to day basis from the railway,” he explained.
“Tuesday is usually one of our busiest days for food and it was like a ghost town. It was quite upsetting to see it the way it was. We usually take between £250-£350 on food, but yesterday we only ended up taking £40”, he revealed.
Asked if he had any sympathy with those striking, he added: “I do understand to an extent where they are coming from , however, I don’t think they understand how much it affects the other people around them, and how we’re going to have to suffer because of this.”
“This is the last thing that every business needs, especially after coming out of lockdown,” added Sam Okafor, owner of the Hind, which stands opposite the train station.
“Everyone is trying to catch up with what has happened and now all of a sudden all these train issues are happening. It’s just ridiculous.”
Members of the RMT Union were seen outside Leicester Railway Station, today (Thursday, June 23), making clear that the strikes were necessary to get what they believed was a fair and deserved pay increase.
They were backed by Claudia Webbe Leicester East MP, who said she was “proud to stand on a picket line in 100% solidarity with rail workers striking.”
“Standing with workers who strike for proper pay and job security should be the default position of any politician who claims to represent the working class,” she added in a statement on Twitter.
XR union member Jane Whiting was also on hand to support the workers.
“The railway workers deserve to be paid by their employer enough to live on,” she said. “They deserve a living wage, not benefits to top up a wage. If the railway workers are not paid a decent wage and you pay taxes, then you (the general public) are supporting that low wage.”
However, Zuber Omarji, owner of nearby Bling Phones believed that the strikes were “unfair and unwarranted.”
“My personal view is that if anybody’s to be paid more and looked after, I’d say it’s got to be the people like the NHS, the Police and the fire brigade,” he said.
“Working in the rail industry is just like any other job. People are working in the offices and other places like that. If everybody starts striking at the moment, where are we going to be?”
East Midlands Railway services are only in operation until 6.30pm tonight, with further strikes set to take place on Thursday (June 23) and Saturday (June 25).
To find out more, visit: https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/