Liverpool dockers started their third round of strike action today (24 October) after the collapse of negotiations between union representatives and port management.
Six hundred workers at the Port of Liverpool are commencing a fresh two-week strike, according to the Unite union which represents the dockers.
Supply chain impact
As previously covered in the IOE&IT Daily Update, companies reliant on deliveries via Liverpool and the Port of Felixstowe – which is also experiencing industrial action – have said that diversion of trade away from the UK ports has created supply chain congestion and delays at other ports across Europe.
The third period of work stoppages is expected to last from 24 October till 7 November.
Claim and counterclaim
The Guardian reports the claim of Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, that the union had “negotiated in good faith with Peel Ports”, which runs the port.
“But the talks ended in farce, with the deal agreed between Unite and senior management being pulled by the board,” she said.
Inflation beating offer
Peel Port had increased its pay offer six times to a better than inflation 11%, reports iNews.
Chief operating officer David Huck said the rise was the highest percentage increase of any port group in the UK, with average pay reaching £43,275.
“It’s hugely disappointing that Unite has staged yet another outdated show-of-hands mass meeting which has, very predictably, failed to support our improved 11% pay offer,” he said.
Huck called on Unite to allow an independent postal vote on the offer.
The two-week stoppage is also now focused on redundancies after the port announced it was cutting 132 jobs, reports the Business Desk.
According to Bloomberg, Peel Ports cited a slump in demand since the strike action began as the reason it was looking to cut 15% of its workforce.
Unite labelled the redundancy notices as a “cynical attempt” to intimidate members.
It said it is seeking a 12.3% pay increase for union members, though Peel alleges the union is pressing for 15.7%.
Unite has rejected the involvement of the government arbitration service Acas in brokering a deal, reports the Liverpool Echo.