I run a small business and the Christmas rail strikes will be crippling

That’s what got readers talking today (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Independent business owners are expressing concern that the pre-Christmas train strikes will impact their ability to earn a living.

But, on the other hand, others support the RMT unionists saying that the criticisms should instead be aimed at the government.

Meanwhile, music fans have come to the defense of Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson, who died aged 75 last week.

It comes after one reader described his technique as an “entry level riff”, a description another reader called “mean obituary”.

Read on to see what else readers are talking about.

These strikes make my life hell

■ I totally agree with restaurateur James (MetroTalk, Tue), who says the RMT strikes in the week before Christmas are ruining people’s lives.

It’s the busiest and most profitable week of the year for many businesses and individuals and they’re on strike for four days! I’m a freelance mixologist and expected to work hard that week to help with this cost of living crisis, which isn’t easy for me either.

Unfortunately I will not be able to work now as I live in Milton Keynes and will not be able to travel to London where all the shifts are.

And, while I’m at it, for God’s sake, Avanti West Coast, please reduce the number of first class carriages – they sit empty while we can’t fit in the standard carriages. Me and another lovely lady standing between the cars (inside the connecting pod) en route from Milton Keynes to London Euston. Ieva, Milton Keynes

A stressed man goes through his finances at the dining table

Small business owners say their income will be hit during rail strikes (Picture: Getty Images)

■ I have a kiosk at our local station so I will have to close during strikes as there will be no passengers.

It’s been pretty bad all through Covid. I don’t get paid to be shut down or get reduced rent, so these strikes are making my life hell. These four days of strikes will see my Christmas recipes go out the window.

I’m all for fair pay, but these strikes don’t count us small businesses, and we count too – no one is giving us a raise. We haven’t had one for three years.

I no longer have staff because I can’t afford to pay them and I haven’t taken a vacation for three years. How is that fair?

So come on strikers, have some consideration for us struggling small businesses and watch the chaos this is causing. Irene, Kilwinning

The privatization of the railway system has failed

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT union

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT union (Picture: PA)

■ Transport Secretary Mark Harper says he doesn’t have a “bottomless pit” of taxpayers’ money to pay for the wage hike demanded by railway workers (Metro, Mon). It’s funny, Mark, the railway has been privately run for a few years now. So surely it shouldn’t be taxpayers’ money paying the salaries of private for-profit companies. Unless, of course, the privatization failed. Richie, Eastbourne

■ Although I have sympathy for James, the restaurant owner, my business has already fallen through – thanks to former Prime Minister Liz Truss and her Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng.

Just before their catastrophic mini-budget, I started my own mortgage brokerage, after graduating as a mortgage consultant. Due to their policies and the ripple effect in the mortgage markets, buyer confidence and lack of affordability with interest rate hikes, I had to close.

Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and former Prime Minister Liz Truss

Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and former Prime Minister Liz Truss (Photo: Reuters)

It cost me thousands of pounds in qualifications and professional fees. I lost a few thousand pounds. Nobody helps me. No government assistance. Nothing. We are all at the mercy of stupid government decisions.

Rather than blaming the strikers, why don’t you direct your anger at the government? They are responsible for a bad pay deal for railway workers, nurses, carers, NHS staff and firefighters etc. Barbara, Gloucestershire

■ If there is goodwill between employers and unions, an agreement can be reached. The willingness of the new transport secretary to play the role of intermediary is a very positive sign. Al, Charlton

Let’s celebrate a showman

■ Denise Gordon (MetroTalk, Tue) clearly has no idea about guitarists if she thinks Dr. Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson, who died last week, was playing ‘entry level riffs’. Try playing Going Back Home, which Johnson wrote with Roger Daltrey, the right way. Not so “entry level”. Kevin, Suffolk

■ Wow, what a mean little obituary! Wilko Johnson’s greatness lay as much in his showmanship, charisma and introspection as in his technical ability. Mick, Bromley

Wilko Johnson on stage

Wilko Johnson performing about a month before his death (Photo: Lorne Thomson/Redferns)

Lots of reasons to make me smile…

■ Gordon from Glasgow (MetroTalk, Monday) replies, “Major Tom in ground control”, whenever the station announcer says, “That’s…” Whenever a game show announcer says, “And this is your host…”I can” I can’t help but reply, ‘Guy Smiley’. Tina Kyeremateng, London

And something else…

■ To Stephen (MetroTalk, Monday) who is annoyed by the crooks who cross the barrier behind him. Try stepping away from the barrier and saying out loud, “Please, after you. So polite and non-confrontational. Work for me. Nettle, Sutton

■ To John (MetroTalk, Mon), despite what you say, UFOs exist and if you don’t believe them, you are very narrow-minded. I saw one. I know what I saw. Nothing could move as fast as that. Steve, Kent

A simulated image of a UFO in Utah

Is there extraterrestrial life in our skies? (Photo: Getty Images)

■ My parents turned up the central heating when I was young, when my grandmother’s apartment was cold. My early years working outdoors were tough in the winter until I paid attention to my grandmother and turned down the heat to tone down the contrast. Forty years later, I find most people’s homes are uncomfortably overheated, so it’s possible for fit and healthy people to adapt. Robert Hughes, London

■ Bus travel has changed so much since the 1970s. Back then, people lined up in an orderly fashion, but now access to the bell is sometimes impossible. In London we still have stops with red signs labeled “Request to stop”, but every stop seems to be a request stop now.

As for the bus driver who writes to MetroTalk saying he enjoys leaving his passengers at the bus stop if they don’t look up from their phones – we’re not all on our phones, that’s just that we don’t see him as the most important person in our lives. Michael, Chingford

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