Liverpool dockers have started a two-week strike in pursuit of a better pay deal and are set to be joined by workers at the Port of Felixstowe next week.
The 560 Liverpool dockers had postponed their strike action for a day because of the Queen’s funeral but will now be taking industrial action until 3 October as they seek an inflation-level pay offer from management.
A review of Liverpool exports by CNBC found it handled items including auto parts for Ford, furniture from Raymour & Flanigan, whiskey and beer from Diageo, as well as copier ink and other parts for Xerox.
Felixstowe, where workers will begin a second strike for better pay from 27 September, handles exports for Ocean Spray, Nutrition and Biosciences, Brown Forman (the company that owns Jack Daniels), Becton Dickinson and Pilgrim’s Pride.
Peel Ports chief operating officer David Huck told the Loadstar he was disappointed workers had rejected the offer of an 8.3% rise, with a one-off payment of £750, “after many months of negotiation”.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham countered that the port’s owners needed to table a “reasonable offer and fulfil its previous pay promises”, reports the BBC.
The UK is set to see a raft of industrial action over pay as the cost of living increases, reports the Daily Mail, with strikes planned on the railways and at Royal Mail.
For imports, logistics managers are shipping their containers into Antwerp and Rotterdam ports and then transferring cargo from ocean freight containers into road freight vehicles to come to the UK.
Other options are to ship into Ireland and again ferry across to the UK into Grangemouth. Bremerhaven and Hamburg are also receiving diverted containers.
According to Hellenic Shipping News, strike disruption will compound other issues for traders such as the Golden Week holiday in China when the factories are shut from 1-7 October.
Typhoon Muifa will also lead to port closures ahead of Golden Week.
Get a plan
IOE&IT experts have advised traders to develop a contingency plan that can cover eventualities such as strikes, IT failures and machinery breakdowns.
Arshad Dadabhoy, trade and customs specialist team lead at the Institute of Export and International Trade’s Academy, said:
“Any company needs to show resilience in the face of adversity. Ultimately it will be your ability to recover and the speed with which you can get back on a normal footing after such an interruption that will inspire confidence in stakeholders to continue doing business with you.”
IOE&IT business members can use the IOE&IT’s International Trade Technical Helpline to get expert advice in case of supply chain disruption.