Looming disruption as Felixstowe port workers announce new walkout

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Impending disruption as Felixstowe port workers announce new walkout

The Port of Felixstowe has received notice from Unite the union of further strike action, now planning simultaneous industrial action with the Port of Liverpool.

After the first walkout last August, Unite threatened strikes could last until Christmas if an improved pay offer is not given.

In its most recent statement, the union said that the management at the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company “unilaterally ended pay talks after refusing to improve its pay offer and instead announced that it was imposing a pay deal of 7 per cent on the workforce”.

The union added that the pay deal is in reality a sizeable pay cut with the current real inflation rate (RPI) standing at 12.3 per cent.

Workers voted to reject the pay offer by 82 per cent on a 78 per cent turnout.

“The latest strike action is entirely of Felixstowe’s own making,” said Unite national officer for docks, Bobby Morton.

“Rather than seeking to negotiate a deal to resolve the dispute, the company instead tried to impose a pay deal.

“Further strike action will inevitably lead to delays and disruption to the UK’s supply chain but this is entirely of the company’s own making.”

A second wave of strikes at Felixstowe port is now planned to start on 27 September lasting for eight days.

The news is raising major concerns as the new walkout at Felixstowe coincides with action at the Port of Liverpool. A number of cargo ships are expected to be redirected to other ports or back to Europe, where congestion has seemed to stabilise over the past few weeks.

The uptick in congestion following strike action at the UK’s Port of Felixstowe has already signalled worrying signs for Liverpool’s upcoming staff.

Analysis from VesselsValue suggests that UK shippers should adjust their logistics plans for the two-week industrial action taking place at the Port of Liverpool.

Responding to the union’s notice, the Port of Felixstowe said: “We are very disappointed that Unite has announced this further strike action at this time.

“The collective bargaining process has been exhausted and there is no prospect of agreement being reached with the union.

“The port is in the process of implementing the 2022 pay award of 7 per cent plus £500 ($585) which is backdated to 1 January 2022.”

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