Dockers vote in favour of Felixstowe strike

  • Overwhelming majority agree to industrial action over changes to bonus payments

Dockers at the UK Port of Felixstowe have voted in favour of strike action over proposed changes to bonus payments.

Talks will now take place next week in an attempt to avert industrial action between Unite officials and the owner of Felixstowe docks, Hutchison Ports, with the arbitration service ACAS.

According to Unite, who represent some 2,500 workers at the UK’s largest port, an overwhelming majority of more than 90 percent of its members voted to sanction the strike if the situation cannot be resolved.

In an open letter addressed to Felixstowe’s dockworkers prior to the vote, union official Phil Pemberton stressed to members the importance of protecting their terms and conditions. In response Hutchison offered to suspend any such changes to allow time for negotiations. However, Pemberton, with the backing of his colleagues, stated that the offer was “totally unacceptable”, report the Ipswich Star.

“Contrary to the company’s opinion the union are committed to ensuring the continued success of the port and our members,” said Pemberton.

“However, I would like the workforce to be treated with respect and if there is a need for change that it is negotiated and agreed and never imposed.”

The Port of Felixstowe handled a record 3.7 million TEU in 2012, representing over 40 percent of all containers moved through UK ports.

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