Businesses meet with Grayling to discuss end to south-east rail disruption
Members of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have met with the transport secretary Chris Grayling and rail minister Paul Maynard today to discuss the ongoing rail disruption in the south-east, urging all parties involved to reach a “durable solution”.
The rail network in the south-east has been battered by strikes in recent weeks, with industrial action taking place on the Underground today and the well-documented strikes on Southern by Aslef and RMT set to continue.
The meeting was attended by representatives from Hampshire, London, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley chambers, all counties which have been affected by the disruption.
“Business communities and commuters across the south-east of England are impatient for action after nearly a year of unpredictable and costly disruption,” said the representatives after their meeting with Grayling.
“While firms have taken every step possible to support staff affected by strike action, businesses and local economies are hurting. It is incumbent upon all parties in the dispute to come to the table and reach a durable solution.”
One of the representatives who met to speak with Grayling was Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, who warned that the events unfolding in the south-east are being watched with concern by business communities elsewhere in the UK – many of whom are represented by the BCC.
Marshall said that a wave of similar rail strikes elsewhere in the country would hit investment and job creation, potentially undermining the livelihoods of millions of people.
Colin Stanbridge, the chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry who was also in attendance at the meeting, argued that London businesses and commuters are “facing a double-whammy this week as they face disruption from both train and tube strikes”.
“A resolution between all the parties involved in these actions is needed urgently to prevent further and unnecessary disturbances to workers in the city and surrounding areas,” added Stanbridge.
Grayling has already made efforts to avert further strike action after extending an invitation to meet with Aslef and RMT to discuss their concerns. While both unions have accepted the offer, no date has yet been set for the meeting.
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