Dock workers at a key UK port will go on strike later this month after pay negotiations failed to resolve union demands – threatening further supply chain disruption.
According to a Sky News report, more than 1,900 workers at Felixstowe port will go on strike between Sunday 21 August and Monday 29 August.
Almost half of the UK's container traffic comes through the Suffolk port.
As previously reported by the IOE&IT Daily Update, workers voted by over 92% to strike over an offer of 5% pay raise, which was described by union officials as being a pay cut when compared to rate of inflation.
British trade union Unite, which is representing the workers at the port, said that Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company, the workers’ employer, had not improved on its offer of a 7% pay increase, following only a 1.4% increase last year.
Given Felixstowe’s strategic trade importance, Unite is warning that the planned strike could affect supply chains as well as international maritime trade, as reported by Reuters.
A Port of Felixstowe statement said the company “continues to actively seek a solution that works for all parties and that avoids industrial action.
“We understand our employees’ concerns at the rising cost of living and are determined to do all we can to help whilst continuing to invest in the port’s success.
Unite national officer Bobby Morton said: “Strike action will cause huge disruption and will generate massive shockwaves throughout the UK’s supply chain,” according to the Evening Standard.
Port Technology is reporting that Danish shipping giant Maersk is warning customers of potential disruptions the walkout may cause and is assessing any impacts the strikes may have.
Further talks are scheduled for Monday 8 August, under the aegis of government conciliation service ACAS, which has been assisting on the talks so far.
Amazon pay strike
E-commerce retailer Amazon – which is also a logistics supplier – faces its own industrial action, after hundreds of workers at its Tilbury warehouse began striking over pay.
According to The Guardian, the strike was given in response to a pay offer of 3%, which is below the rate of inflation.
The Daily Mail reports that strikes are spreading to three of the company’s other UK sites in the West Midlands and South West.