UK’s largest container port hit by another strike

UK’s largest container port hit by another strike

An aerial photograph taken on August 22, 2022 shows the Ever Alot container ship docked by stopped container loading cranes at the empty UK’s largest freight port, in Felixstowe, during a dock workers eight-day strike over pay. — AFP pic

Tuesday, 27 Sep 2022 11:23 PM MYT

LONDON, Sept 27 — Around 1,900 workers at the UK’s largest container port, Felixstowe, returned to picket lines today for an eight-day strike, raising concerns about the country’s supply chains.

The walkout coincides with ongoing action at the port of Liverpool — together affecting 60 per cent of the country’s container port capacity.

The strike at Felixstowe, which accounts for almost half of the UK’s container trade, follows an eight-day walkout last month, the first since 1989.

Workers are demanding a 10-per cent pay rise to match current decades-high inflation rates, with a majority of Unite union members at the port voting to strike.

The current action will go on until October 5, after the facility’s owner Hutchison Port Holdings, which is owned by a Hong Kong conglomerate, refused to enter further negotiations.

The company has offered a seven per cent wage increase, which amounts to a real-terms pay cut with inflation recently hitting 9.9 per cent and predicted to rise further.

The port expressed disappointment at the new walkout, but warned there was “no prospect of agreement being reached with the union”.

“The port is in the process of implementing a very fair pay increase of seven per cent plus £500 (RM2,462),” said a port spokesman.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said the port was a “tremendously wealthy company which can fully afford to pay its workers a fair pay increase but has chosen not to in order to boost their already huge profits”.

The action comes after a summer of strikes in Britain, with railway and postal workers, among others, walking out as wages fail to keep up with inflation. — AFP