orkers on the UK’s greatest container port are to launch an eight-day strike on Sunday in a dispute over pay within the newest outbreak of commercial motion to hit a rising variety of sectors of the financial system.
Employees together with crane drivers, machine operators and stevedores are taking motion after voting by greater than 9-1 in favour of strikes.
The union mentioned the stoppage can have a big effect on the port, which handles round 4 million containers a yr from 2,000 ships.
However a port supply mentioned the strikes will probably be an “inconvenience not a disaster”, claiming that the provision chain was now used to disruption following the pandemic.
“Disruption is the brand new regular. The provision chain has moved from ‘simply in time, to simply in case’,” the supply added.
He additionally recommended that some suppliers of white items resembling fridge freezers would possibly truly welcome a break due to slower gross sales because of the cost-of-living disaster.
Unite common secretary Sharon Graham mentioned: “Felixstowe docks is enormously worthwhile. The most recent figures present that in 2020 it made £61 million in earnings.
“Its mum or dad firm, CK Hutchison Holding Ltd, is so rich that, in the identical yr, it handed out £99 million to its shareholders.
“To allow them to give Felixstowe staff an honest pay elevate. It’s clear each corporations have prioritised delivering multimillion-pound earnings and dividends slightly than paying their staff an honest wage.
“Unite is totally centered on enhancing its members’ jobs, pay and circumstances and will probably be giving the employees at Felixstowe its full help till this dispute is resolved and an honest pay improve is secured.”
The Port of Felixstowe mentioned in a press release: “The corporate is disenchanted that Unite has not taken up our supply to name off the strike and are available to the desk for constructive discussions to discover a decision.
“We recognise these are tough instances however, in a slowing financial system, we consider that the corporate’s supply, value over 8% on common within the present yr and nearer to 10% for decrease paid staff, is honest.
“Unite has failed our workers by not consulting them on the supply and, because of this, they’ve been put ready the place they’ll lose pay by happening strike.
“The port regrets the influence this motion can have on UK provide chains. We’re grateful for the help now we have had from our prospects and are working with them to mitigate disruption.
“The port offers safe and well-paid employment and there will probably be no winners from this pointless industrial motion.”
Felixstowe handles almost half of the containerised freight coming into the nation and the motion might imply vessels should be diverted to ports elsewhere within the UK or Europe.