PUB trade campaigners have issued a stark warning over the business impact of next week’s planned rail strikes.

ScotRail services will be dramatically curtailed on Tuesday (June 21), Thursday (June 23) and Saturday (June 25) next week when tens of thousands of railway workers will walkout as part of an ongoing dispute with Network Rail concerning plans to axe hundreds of maintenance jobs.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association warned today that the action will have a “very serious” impact on the industry as it struggles to get back on track amid the ongoing fall-out from the pandemic. Only five routes will be in operation on the three days affected, all in the central belt, and services will come to a close at 18.30.

Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the SLTA, 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, enjoying dinner, attending an event or going to a nightclub.

“There’s also the safety aspect to consider as every business and venue wants to ensure that their staff and customers can get home safely late at night – many rely on trains to get home.”

The SLTA noted that the strike action will affect events such as the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, which runs from June 23 to 26, as well as concerts and other events in towns and cities around Scotland.

Mr Wilkinson added: “We are already aware of hotel and restaurant bookings being cancelled. Hospitality businesses cannot afford to lose any more trade, particularly as we approach the crucial summer season.

“We urge both the UK and Scottish governments to intervene. After enforced closures and restrictions during the pandemic and the spiralling cost-of-living crisis now having an impact on licensed hospitality and many other sectors, it is crucial that across the UK there are reliable and efficient train services along with late-night public transport provision.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously.

"We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1pc and rising.”

He added: "RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways."