'Cynical attempt to intimidate workers'

Unite dismisses Peel Ports’ announcement of months-old restructuring plan — and says game playing move will not deter workers seeking fair pay

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Peel Ports’ confirmation of months-old restructuring plans means that strikes at the Liverpool port are now about jobs and pay, Unite has said.

The union was responding to Peel Ports’ statement that they are seeking redundancies, claiming a downturn of traffic at the Liverpool container port over the last year despite profits of £30 million in the same period.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Peel Ports’ plan is to pile up even more profit at the expense of its workers and their families. These months-old plans are nothing new and have ensured that this dispute is now about jobs and pay.

“This is a cynical attempt to intimidate workers. It will not work,” she added. “Maybe if they spent more time solving the dispute, as opposed to attacking their own workforce, the employers would be in a better place.”

Peel Ports has paid out around £300 million in dividends over the past five years. The highest paid director received pay and benefits totalling £4.5 million in 2021 – a massive increase from £1.6 million in 2020.

Unite national officer Robert Morton noted, “Peel Ports has been giving press briefings about redundancies for months now, so this announcement is not new news.”

“But these plans confirm that the company was never going to discuss pay in good faith. It was always intent on attacking the workforce to bolster profits. Unite stands firm in a dispute that is no longer solely about pay but is now about jobs as well.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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