Port of Felixstowe staff to strike over pay

A massive Maersk Line container ship being manoeuvred into position by the quayside at Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, Eastern England, by tug boats where, once safely moored, the containers will be lifted by the cranes onto waiting lorries. Port of Felixstowe is the busiest container port in the UK.

Staff at the Port of Felixstowe have voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay.

Union Unite made the announcement on 28 July, where Unite members at Port of Felixstowe are responsible for all aspects of the port’s operation.

The workers recorded a 92 per cent vote for industrial action on an 81 per cent turnout.

The strike will take place in August.

The dispute is a between the Union and the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company offering a pay increase of five per cent to its workers.

This, according to Unite, is an effective pay cut with the real (RPI) rate of inflation currently standing at 11.9 per cent. Last year the workforce received a below inflation pay increase of 1.4 per cent.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The bottom line is this is an extremely wealthy company that can fully afford to give its workers a pay rise. Instead it chose to give bonanza pay outs to shareholders touching £100 million ($122 million).

“Unite is focused on defending the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and we will giving 100 per cent support to our members at Felixstowe.

“Workers should not be paying the price for the pandemic with a pay cut. Unite has undertaken 360 disputes in a matter of months and we will do all in our power to defend workers.”

Strike action would bring Felixstowe to a standstill and would cause major logistical problems for maritime and road haulage transport entering the port. 

Felixstowe is responsible for 48 per cent of the UK’s container trade.

Earlier this month news arose that some 500 dockworkers employed at MDHC container services at Peel Ports in Liverpool will vote on whether to strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Also in July a third strike within a handful of weeks took place in Germany following a collapse in negotiations between dockworkers and employers.

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