Fresh strikes have been announced in the Felixstowe port dispute after workers overwhelmingly rejected management’s attempt to impose a pay deal.
Last week the management at the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company unilaterally ended pay talks after refusing to improve its pay offer and instead announced that it was imposing a pay deal of seven per cent on the workforce. The imposed pay deal is in reality a sizeable pay cut with the current real inflation rate (RPI) standing at 12.3 per cent.
The Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company is ultimately owned by the multi-national port operator CK Hutchison, which is registered in the Cayman Islands.
In response Unite, the UK’s leading union, which represents 1,900 blue collar workers at the port, surveyed its members. They voted to reject the imposed pay offer by 82 per cent on a 78 per cent turnout.
As a result fresh strike action for eight days has been called from 07:00 Tuesday 27 September and ending on 06:59 on Wednesday 5 October. The previous eight days of strike action last month brought the port, which is responsible for 48 per cent of the UK’s container goods, to a standstill.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Felixstowe and CK Hutchison are both eye-wateringly wealthy but rather than offer a fair pay offer, they have instead attempted to impose a real terms pay cut on their workers.
“Since the beginning of this dispute Unite has given its total support to its members at Felixstowe and that will continue until this dispute is resolved.”
The company is fully able to pay its workers a fair pay increase as its accounts for 2021 reveal that it made record profits of £79 million. The latest accounts of CK Hutchison, reveal that it had a turnover of £30 billion.
Unite national officer for docks Bobby Morton added, “The latest strike action is entirely of Felixstowe’s own making. Rather than seeking to negotiate a deal to resolve the dispute, the company instead tried to impose a pay deal.
“Further strike action will inevitably lead to delays and disruption to the UK’s supply chain but this is entirely of the company’s own making.”