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Felixstowe port strike to go ahead after talks break down | Business News

An eight-day strike at the UK’s biggest container port will go ahead after talks between bosses and unions broke down.

More than 1,900 members of Unite will strike from Sunday 21 August until Monday 29 August, unhappy with the 7% pay rise offered by Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company following a 1.4% increase last year.

A spokesman for the port authority said: “We are disappointed and regret that, despite our best efforts, we have still been unable to reach an agreement with the hourly branch of Unite.

“During talks yesterday the port further improved its position, offering a £500 lump sum in addition to 7%.

“The staff branch of Unite and the Police Federation of Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company have agreed to put a similar offer to their members.

“In contrast, the hourly branch of Unite has again rejected the port’s improved position and refused to put it to its members.

“We urge them to consult their members on the latest offer as soon as possible. There will be no winners from a strike which will only result in their members losing money they would otherwise have earned.

“Our focus has been to find a solution that works for our employees and protects the future success of the port. The union has rejected the company’s offer to meet again.”

Read more:
Who is going on strike this month and when

Unite national officer Robert Morton said: “Felixstowe docks is massively profitable. In 2020 alone, it raked in £61m in pre-tax profits and paid dividends of £99m.

“It can afford to put forward a reasonable pay offer to our members but once again has chosen not to.

“That decision was driven by greed not need. Unite’s door remains open for further talks but strike action will go ahead unless the company tables an offer that our members can accept.”

Almost half of the UK’s container traffic comes through Felixstowe and Unite said the action would hit supply chains, the logistics and haulage sectors, as well as international maritime trade.

It is the latest round of industrial action by workers pushing for pay to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Felixstowe strike: Workers at UK’s biggest container port to walk off the job for eight days | Business News

Workers at the UK’s biggest container port will go on strike for more than a week later this month in a dispute over pay.

More than 1,900 members of Unite union at Felixstowe will strike for eight days from Sunday 21 August until Monday 29 August.

The union said that employer Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company had failed to improve on its offer of a 7% pay increase, following only a 1.4% increase last year.

Almost half of the UK’s container traffic comes through Felixstowe and Unite said the action would hit supply chains, the logistics and haulage sectors, as well as international maritime trade.

It is the latest round of industrial action by workers pushing for pay to keep up with the cost of living.

Unite national officer for docks 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 to 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.”

‘Massively profitable and incredibly wealthy’

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said both Felixstowe docks and its parent company Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison are “massively profitable and incredibly wealthy”, adding: “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.”

More talks are due to take place on Monday.

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‘We need to remove power of militant unions’

In a statement supplied to Sky News, a spokesperson for the port 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 ongoing and the company’s latest position in negotiations is an enhanced pay increase of 7%. We are meeting again on Monday 8 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.”

The Department for Transport has also been contacted for comment.

Felixstowe welcomes approximately 2,000 ship each year, according to its website, including some of the world’s largest container vessels.

Around 17 shipping lines operate from the port, offering 33 services to and from more than 700 ports around the world.