‘Stand with me and fight’: buffet owner calls for colleagues to join rail strike compensation quest

Stand with me and fight for your rights. That is the message from a railway business owner who is taking her strike compensation quest to Downing Street and has called for others to join the cause.

Carol Ritchie, 57, has so far received 1,000 signatures on her petition to get a refund on her rent from Southern operators Govia Thameslink Railway after the rail strikes almost closed her business last year.

Daniel Purchese (right) pictured with buffet owner Carol Ritchie and a member of her team

Daniel Purchese (right) pictured with buffet owner Carol Ritchie and a member of her team

The owner of Ritchie’s Buffet in Angmering railway station said that her colleagues across the area have also suffered – and is asking them to join her.

She said: “They have to fight like me and stand up for their rights.

“Why risk losing your lovely livelihood that you’ve put your time and effort into to get your private life?

“I live for my buffet; everthing else fits around it. That is my life; I love it. End of.”

The idea of a campaign was started by town and district councillor Dan Purchese, who is a regular customer of Ritchie’s Buffet.

He said it was ‘all about fairness’, as customers are able to get a refund on their train tickets. To sign her petition, click here.

The councillor added: “We have a thousand signatures; we want even more.

“We are going to make Southern Rail and Govia sit up and take notice.

“We will support local businesses throughout the area, and we want them to join forces with us.”

When she has collected enough signatures, Carol will be taking her petition to Downing Street, and is hoping other business owners can join her.

Carol has also released figures of her earnings on strike days last year versus the same day in 2015.

On Friday, December 16, Carol earnt £8.60 – a shocking 97 per cent less than the £270.15 she earnt a year before.

It was a similar story on December 13, with her takings 96 per cent down on the previous year.

She has used ten years’ worth of savings to keep her business afloat, and a community fund set up by estate agent Shaun Adams has stopped Carol losing her house.

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert also backed the cause.

A spokesman for Southern Rail said its managing agents would ‘confirm details of a rebate shortly’.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.