Teesside Freeport pay win

Teesside port workers secure improved pay deal

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Workers employed by PD Ports in Teesside have secured a significantly improved pay deal following long and extensive negotiations.

Unite, which represents the workforce, has secured a two year deal worth 7.35 per cent. The company was initially offering a single year deal worth a mere 1.35 per cent.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This is a significantly improved pay offer at a strategically important port. It reflects Unite’s determination to ensure that freeports are not arenas for low wages and poorer conditions.

“Companies operating in the Teesside Freeport area are expecting to see a huge economic benefit. In order to protect the jobs, pay and conditions of its members, Unite is closely monitoring the establishment of all freeport areas.”

Unite has ensured the offer to Teesport workers was increased because freeport businesses can’t expect to bank their tax breaks while wages are held down. Unite is seeking to ensure that companies who establish themselves in these areas deliver well paid, quality, unionised jobs.

In addition to the pay increase, Unite has secured a clear commitment from PD Ports to work constructively with Unite to address a number of other outstanding elements from the pay claim. This should lead to the improvement of the work life balance of employees and also result in improved union facilities.

The deal is also significant as Teesport is one of the UK’s freeport areas and Unite warned in October that it would not allow the jobs, pay and conditions of workers in these locations to be diminished as part of a cutthroat race to the bottom.

Unite regional officer Pat McCourt said, “PD Ports is a wealthy company and it has received a significant boost in turnover from Teesport over the past two years.

“As a result, it was absolutely essential that Unite secured a fair pay rise for our members who have been key players in contributing to that success,” he added.

The pay deal at Teesport closely follows the pay increase that Unite secured at the port of Liverpool. It also applies further pressure on other major employers in the sector to improve their pay offers, in order to avoid industrial action in the new year.

By Barckley Sumner

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