Angry pub landlord cancels rail workers’ Christmas bash due to strikes

A pub landlord is facing the wrath of union leaders after cancelling rail workers' Christmas party due to strikes affecting his trade.

Andy Shaw, owner of the Portwall Tavern in Bristol, said the industry's ongoing dispute over pay and working conditions had caused his profits and members of staff to suffer.

As a result, Mr Shaw has now denied Bristol Rail Workers’ Social and Welfare Fund their festive gettogether, despite it being pencilled in the diary since August.

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The committee had used the pub, which is situated close to Bristol Temple Meads station, for the last five years at Christmas.

However, after receiving clarification from members via email that they had been involved in strikes against the operator Great Western Railway, Mr Shaw pulled the plug.

He told BristolLive: "I wrote back a very polite email, saying that while I wished them well in their action and hoped it would be sorted soon, I couldn’t accept the booking. It would be hypocritical of me to do so, given I’ve lost a lot of money because of this strike.

"It’s affecting me personally, it’s affecting my staff, and also my ability to get staff in because of the train strikes, and it’s affecting the trade we get because we’re close to the station."

Bristol Trades Union Council, which is concerned with unions tied to the Trades Union Congress, has since passed a motion last asking its members to boycott the pub, citing it as an "anti-worker establishment".

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The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) filed the motion declaring that "trade unionists should avoid drinking here in both personal and professional capacities".

A statement read: "ASLEF calls on Bristol Trades Council to encourage trade unionists to seek out independent, trade union-friendly pubs in Bristol, of which there are a significant number.

"Given the current cost-of-living crisis which puts many pubs in danger of closure, it is more important now than it has been for a long time that we endeavour to support the establishments that share the aims and ideals of the trade union movement."

Mr Shaw subsequently accused union officials of bullying.


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