How to manage business travel during transport strike action

Business travel was widely affected at the end of last year, with a combination of UK domestic rail strikes and Eurostar, Border Force and Heathrow airport ground handlers taking strike action.

Today, (Wednesday 1 February) industrial action by RMT union and Aslef union train drivers members takes place, as well as on Friday 3 February, while UK Border Force is also striking today and 2 February.

How do these transport strikes affect your travel programmes? Is it possible for your corporate and event travellers to keep one step ahead and avoid as much disruption to your business as possible?

Reed & Mackay Head of Operations Tanya Michaud explains how TMCs can help clients minimise disruption to their travel programmes.

Be aware of the strike action notice required in different destinations

In the UK, unions must give 14 days’ notice of strike action (unless the employer and unions have agreed to seven days), so there is some time for TMCs to plan ahead and work with clients to rearrange tickets for train services, accommodation, car hire etc.

If you’re planning to travel to Europe, however, strike action notice varies depending on the country. In Italy and Spain, ten days’ notice needs to be given for public sector workers. However, in France, it is much shorter notice; just 48 hours’ need to be given for transport strikes.

Is your TMC partnered with a risk management company?

A TMC is not a risk management company. For complete confidence that you’ll be ahead of any strike action or protests that are planned, ask if your TMC partners with a reputable risk management company. These will provide your TMC with up-to-date information from around the world, on issues from extreme weather to strikes to political incidences.

Reed & Mackay partners with risk management company World Aware, part of Crisis24. From the in-depth information it receives, Reed & Mackay then filters through any relevant content for clients, updating with more information as it becomes available.

TMCs should offer a 24/7/365 service to ensure travel managers are always aware of global incidences

“Our Incident Management Unit (IMU) was created with this in mind. So there’s always people curating alerts from the risk management company as well as keeping updated with news via supplier communications. We always have eyes and ears on what is happening in the world so we can react quickly to things that could impact our clients,” Michaud says.

The IMU team sends out a twice weekly summary to clients, as well as a summary to Reed & Mackay business travel consultants three times a week. The summaries contain information on upcoming strikes or protests and clients are informed about any flight delays or cancellations.

“Our relationship with suppliers is critical,” Michaud adds. “Clients may have to rearrange a whole raft of meetings so the quicker they know about anything that will affect their itinerary, the better.

Does your TMC have technology that provides everything you need to know about the destination your travellers are visiting?

As a travel manager, you’ll need immediate access to information from flight delays and cancellations, reports on weather, protests, rallies, strikes, regional holidays and major events across the world, as well as destination and COVID information.

Reed & Mackay clients have access to R&M/Portal. It provides a central hub for managers and bookers that ensures compliance, control and security across the globe. The tool houses trip data, travel alerts, risk information and much more, including an interactive world map that pinpoints the position of all travellers, providing critical advice tailored to their exact locations to help you keep them safe.

If strike action is affecting your travel, contact your business travel consultant.

If you’d like to find out more how Reed & Mackay can help transform the way your business travels, contact us here or email