Port strikes deal fresh blow to UK supply chains

Two of the UK’s largest ports will hold two weeks of walkouts this month in protest of a pay dispute.

Two of Britain’s largest ports workers will stage a walkout later in the month as union chiefs intensify efforts to get double-digit pay increases for their thousands of members.

Unite has announced an additional round of eight-day industrial action at Felixstowe, the country’s largest container port starting Sept 27.

Port workers and engineers at the Port of Liverpool are refusing a 7pc increase in their pay and will walk out for two more weeks starting Sept 20.

Union chiefs criticized the “wealthy owner” of two ports, insisting any wage increase below 12.3pc, the latest rise in the retail price index, the UK’s official inflation rate, would be tantamount to a pay cut.

Sharon Graham, Unite’s General Secretary, stated that Felixstowe and CK Hutchison both have eye-watering high net worth, but instead of offering fair pay, they tried to impose a real-term cut on their workers.

“Since the inception of this dispute Unite has offered its full support to Felixstowe’s members and will continue that support until the dispute is resolved.”

Bobby Morton, Unite’s national officer for docks, stated that the latest strike was entirely Felixstowe-related. Instead of trying to reach a settlement, the company tried to impose a salary agreement.

“Further strikes will undoubtedly lead to delays in the UK’s supply chains, but this is completely the company’s fault.”

Hutchison released a statement online stating that the collective bargaining process had been exhausted and that there was no chance of an agreement with the union.

Felixstowe’s staff walked out of the office in August after they rejected a 7pc raise. Liners had to change ports because of the shutdown.

As retailers prepare for Christmas, a new wave of industrial action could disrupt supply chains already in danger.

Peel Ports, owner of the Port of Liverpool has asked union leaders to continue negotiating, despite receiving a 7pc increase in pay and a £750 one-off bonus.

Peel stated that any closure of Liverpool’s port would be felt for “many months to come” at a time when container demand is decreasing.

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