The latest round of strikes gets underway today at the Port of Liverpool following another broken down period of negotiations between employer and dockworkers.
The walkouts affecting Liverpool’s container works will run from 24 October to 7 November in a months-long dispute between owner and operator Peel Ports Group (PPG) and Unite the union members.
In the latest round of talks, Peel Ports offered an 11 per cent pay offer, increasing average annual salaries to more than £43,000 ($48,600).
Peel Ports Chief Operating Officer David Huck said it was “hugely disappointing” for Unite to reject the latest offer, arguing the increase is the highest of any port group in the UK by far.
“Given we have now improved our offer six times and Unite have consistently blocked the involvement of ACAS to help arbitrate, you have to question whether the union really wants to resolve this damaging industrial action or is simply prolonging it for their own ends,” Huck commented.
Huck added that Unite’s favour of a show-of-hands voting instead of an independent postal vote “is very telling.”
“Our feedback from many, many workers is that they are in favour of accepting but are too reluctant to do so in a mass meeting,” he added.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Unite team negotiated in good faith with Peel Ports. But the talks ended in farce, with the deal agreed between Unite and senior management being pulled by the board. Strike action by our members and with the full support of Unite will go ahead.
“Peel Ports’ untrustworthy behaviour and its attempts to threaten the workforce are only escalating the dispute.”
Since the strikes at the docks began on 19 September, PPG has considered beginning a redundancy consultation process. PPG said the northwest port has seen an increasing decline in the movement of container cargo to its facilities in recent months.