Yorkshire chamber calls for action amid widespread strike action and economic unrest

Sep 9, 2022

The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has issued a statement calling for more to be done to support firms during a ‘perfect storm’ of strike action and fuel costs that, together, are having an increasingly damaging effect on our region’s businesses.

Recent weeks have seen widespread industrial strike action taking place or being announced across a number of sectors, including union members from bus and train networks, refuse workers, Royal Mail and workers from BT and Openreach.

Martin Hathaway, managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We seem to have a perfect storm that is affecting businesses and travellers all across West Yorkshire.

“Rail strikes, bus strikes, road works on the M62 and the cost of fuel at unprecedented levels all occurring at the same time is having a serious knock-on effect on our businesses.

“While safety upgrades to roads are essential, those who regularly commute to work using the M62 may opt for public transport instead. However, this may not be an option due to the strikes.

“Some industrial action has been ongoing for months, resulting in many having to put longer term alternatives in place.

“Not only does this action limit movements to and from work, but it may also discourage people from seeking employment or development opportunities elsewhere.

“It is promising to see the West Yorkshire Metro Mayor committing to our region’s travel with the recent cuts to bus travel across our network. While this is a positive step, we need more to be done on a national scale with the full backing of our new Prime Minister to support our business activities at home in Yorkshire and across our nation and overseas.

“The cost-of-living increases for employees, and the impact of inflation being felt by business leaders, is creating unsustainable levels of wage demands.

“Along with the increased costs of transport, raw materials and power, business profits are being put at risk when we need growth.

“We are very much still in our recovery after Covid-19 and need support now more than ever when costs are spiralling.

“I fear that many firms will not have the banked resources, both in terms of finance and staff, to weather this storm without urgent support from our Government and Metro Mayor.

“I am keen to engage in conversations with local leaders about how we move forward in a way that is beneficial to our workers, our businesses and our people.”

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