Glaswegians backed striking rail staff despite the prospect of losing footfall

Glaswegians backed striking rail staff despite the prospect of losing footfall.

The city has one of the lowest rates of car ownership in the UK but workers and business owners voiced sympathies with RMT workers taking industrial action - although it was feared it could hamper the city’s economy after the pandemic.

Ian Brooke, 42, founder of Brawsome Bagels, said: “I do support the strike. When you aren’t getting paid what you believe is right, then yes, you should strike about it 100 per cent.

“I do think it is poor timing, that could have been done better. We have monkeypox, Covid, the cost-of-living prices, energy price rises, Brexit, and my costs keep going up.

“So, all these things combined and now chucking something else into it is a bit ill considered. I can’t close the doors. I have staff to look after. I have to keep myself employed and my staff are paid an accredited living wage.”

Refill Station employee, Lindsay Aylees, 45, struggled to get to work from the East End as the rail services shut down.

Lindsay said: “The streets are absolutely empty. It was a hassle for us to get to work as well because the trains are off.

“If the strike continues we will see a big change definitely, it is going to cause a problem. I understand the strikes but I find it annoying because it will have knock-on effects for everything.

“It will affect me being on time for work and our business.”

News 24 shop employee, Waqar Ahmed, 38, was worried about the future of his business after noticing a drastic footfall in traffic.

Wgar said: “It has absolutely affected our customer traffic. Today we lost so much business. Normally we have 10-15 customers at a time in the shop, but today we are dead. I am absolutely worried about that. It is not good for the business.

“What can we do? We understand their demands and they have a right to strike but unfortunately it will affect us.”

Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), cautioned that greatly reduced train services would also potentially impact on staff and public safety.

He said: “To put it bluntly, the hospitality sector just can’t take any more.

“Businesses are slowly recovering after the pandemic and just when most are feeling optimistic for the first time and looking forward to a good summer, along comes a national rail strike which will deter people from travelling into our towns and cities.

“If there are no trains or if the last train home is 6.30pm, people won’t bother going out at all and who can blame them.

“Nobody wants to be worrying about how they will get home after meeting friends in the pub.

“With soaring utility bills and other cost increases, serious staffing issues and now disruption on the railways, this summer is shaping up to be a ‘perfect storm’ for Scotland’s hospitality businesses.”

Richard Muir, deputy chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “Public transport is critical to all cities but especially across Glasgow which has much lower car ownership levels compared to other cities in the UK.

“Couple this with an already depleted taxi supply then it is easy to see why many businesses across Glasgow are worried about the knock-on effect the strike action will have on our economy, especially within the hospitality and retail sectors.

“Glasgow‘s footfall is still well below its pre-pandemic levels with the shortfall now 21per cent lower than 2019 levels.

“This equates to 930,000 less visitors in the city centre last month. The lack of reliable public transport has a direct effect on our economy and the businesses that rely on it.

“We urge all parties to resume negotiations so we can prevent additional disruption to businesses and residents alike.”