Workers at the Port of Liverpool will stage two more weeks of strikes as the ongoing fallout over pay and job security rolls on.
Unite the union said nearly 600 staff members will walkout from 24 October to 7 November.
The union argued that the latest offer from operator Peel Ports Group (PPG) was a real-terms wage cut due to inflationary pressures.
PPG argues it has offered staff a 10.2 per cent pay rise. The union, however, claimed the offer was around 8.2 per cent and the 10.2 per cent figure was based on the maximum overtime possible worked.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “Peel Holdings is hugely profitable and can absolutely afford to pay our members a proper wage increase. It did so at Camel Laird, so why not at Liverpool docks?
“Instead of negotiations to resolve this dispute, the company has chosen to threaten jobs and repeatedly mislead about the deal it has tabled.
“Our members are standing firm, and have their union’s complete support. The company must put forward a pay rise they can accept or this strike continues.”
A recent Peel Ports statement said: “Unite continues to make unrealistic and unsustainable above-inflation pay demands, whilst declining a meeting with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
“We are concerned Unite have no interest in resolving matters through the collective bargaining arrangements we have in place or via an independent ballot, as it continues to push for more strikes.
“Our average the 10.2 per cent basic pay increase offered in talks last week represents an industry leading deal and is 2 per cent above inflation, at the time of the pay anniversary and review in June.
David Huck, Chief Operating Officer at Peel Ports said: “Unite’s decision to call a further two-week strike, against a backdrop of dramatic reductions in container volumes, is entirely self-defeating.
“This pay offer is greater than that of any UK port and we are disappointed they are resorting to the old fashioned, mass meeting show-of-hands, when we believe every single worker deserves the chance to have their say, without undue influence.”