Businesses which rely on commuters for trade say rail strikes are putting their livelihoods at risk

Tracey Skipp works at Coffeelink at Diss train station in Norfolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Business owners who rely on commuters for their trade are warning that continued rail strikes are putting their livelihoods at risk.

One station coffee shop told ITV News Anglia that trade during the first strike day on Tuesday was down by 90%, and it had been open for more than two hours before seeing its first customer.

Coffeeline is a family business running shops at stations across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Hertfordshire. Normally it opens to queues of people waiting, but on strike days that is down to just a handful all day, said

Tracey Skipp, a sales assistant at the branch at Diss station in Norfolk, said: "We were just getting over Covid and getting back to two staff - to go back down to virtually nothing again is a struggle. [It's] just barely paying a wage for us to come in.

"We have just started to pick up trade properly again near to where it was, just for us to get hit again.

"Normally we would have queues going out the door to serve customers going on the train.

"We just sit here and put our feet up with the number of customers we are having at the moment."

It comes as thousands of railway workers staged a second day of walkouts after talks between train operators and unions failed.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union leader has hinted at the prospect of further strikes if a settlement is not reached on the industrial dispute.

Mick Lynch, who says the union is working with Network Rail and other operators on solving the dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, said the RMT will review its options next week.

But he suggested the next strike day on Saturday may not be the last.

Members of the RMT at Network Rail and 13 train operators are taking industrial action on Thursday, impacting services across the UK.

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