LONDON (ICIS)–Several UK ports are expected to
see walkouts over the next few weeks as a
result of industrial action, with strike action
underway at the Port of Liverpool and set to
come into effect at the Port of Felixstowe next
Port of Liverpool operator Peel Ports Group
confirmed in a statement that members of Unite
the Union employed at the site’s container
operations will go on strike from the start of
this week as a result of a pay dispute, with
the industrial action expected to last from 19
September to 3 October.
The port operator had offered workers an 8.3%
pay increase, along with a £750 one-off payment
once union members rejected the original
Made up of a 7% increase in basic pay and 1.3%
from pay rates and allowances, Unite claimed
the offer was a pay cut in light of the current
levels of inflation in the UK.
Industrial action at the Liverpool hub, located
in northwestern England, is set to overlap with
industrial action at the Port of Felixstowe in
the south of the country, expected to run from
27 September to 5 October.
Operator the Felixstowe Dock and Railway
Company , which had been offering a 7% pay hike
and a £500 pay-out, said that there is no
prospect of an arrangement being reached with
“The collective bargaining process has been
exhausted and there is no prospect of agreement
being reached with the union,” the company
“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,” said Unite national officer for
docks Bobby Morton.
“Further strike action will inevitably lead to
delays and disruption to the UK’s supply
chain,” he added.
UK supply chains have been buffeted by the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global
distribution, as well as the disruption seen in
the wake of the country’s full break from the
EU, a chronic shortage of heavy goods vehicle
(HGV) drivers periods of warehouse capacity
tightness and the Ukraine war.
The closure of two key container ports is
likely to result in further delays of product
entering and leaving the country, along with
the impact of wider industrial action in the
rail sector as employees push for pay increases
to match the current level of inflation.
UK inflation fell slightly to 9.8% in August
compared with 10.1% in July, but current levels
still represent the highest in decades.
Both ports have bulk chemical storage
warehousing facilities on-site. Chemicals
players Inovyn, Vynova, Huntsman and Mexichem
Fluor all have operations at Runcorn, near the
Port of Liverpool, while Felxistowe is the UK’s
largest container port.
Focus article by Tom Brown.
Thumbnail picture: Walkers near the Port of
Felixstowe, UK. P Source: Andy