Workers at UK's busiest container port to strike for 8 days in August amid pay row

5 August 2022, 14:41 | Updated: 5 August 2022, 16:04

Workers at the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk, Britain's biggest and busiest container port, have voted to go on strike.
Workers at the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk, Britain's biggest and busiest container port, have voted to go on strike. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Workers at the UK's largest container port will strike for eight days in August in a row over pay, a union has announced.

Members of the Unite union at Felixstowe port have rejected a five per cent pay offer and will walk out for eight days from August 21.

It's likely to cause huge disruption to the UK's supply chain - causing logistical issues for maritime and road haulage.

Unite said more than 1,900 workers at Felixstowe will be taking industrial action.

"Workers at the port of Felixstowe will begin strike action later this month in a dispute over pay after peace talks at the conciliation service Acas failed to produce a reasonable offer," Unite said.

The union said talks will continue on Monday.

The strike was called after Unite said the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company failed to improve on its offer of a 7% pay increase, describing it as "significantly below" inflation.

Read more: Summer of train strikes to get worse as militant drivers union votes for further walkout

Read more: Tube and train strikes 2022: When are the planned strikes for July and August?

The Port of Felixstowe is the largest and busiest container port in the UK
The Port of Felixstowe is the largest and busiest container port in the UK. Picture: Edward Crawford/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:"Both Felixstowe docks and its parent company CK Hutchison Holding Ltd are both massively profitable and incredibly wealthy. They are fully able to pay the workforce a fair day's pay.

"The company has prioritised delivering multi-million pound dividends rather than paying its workers a decent wage.

"Unite is entirely focused on enhancing its members' jobs, pay and conditions and it will be giving the workers at Felixstowe its complete support until this dispute is resolved and a decent pay increase is secured."

The workers undertake manual roles at the docks including crane drivers, machine operators and stevedores.

Unite national officer Bobby Morton said: "Strike action will cause huge disruption and will generate massive shockwaves throughout the UK's supply chain, but this dispute is entirely of the company's own making.

"It has had every opportunity make our members a fair offer but has chosen not to do so.

"Felixstowe needs to stop prevaricating and make a pay offer which meets our members' expectations."

A spokesperson for Acas said: "The company continues to actively seek a solution that works for all parties and that avoids industrial action.

"We understand our employees' concerns at the rising cost of living and are determined to do all we can to help whilst continuing to invest in the port's success.

"Discussions are on-going and the company's latest position in negotiations is an enhanced pay increase of 7%. We are meeting again on Monday August with Acas and the union.

"The port has not had a strike since 1989 and we are disappointed that the union has served notice of industrial action while talks are ongoing.

"The port provides secure and well-paid employment and there will be no winners from industrial action."

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