Traders face ports, borders and transport disruption as strikes continue into March

Mon 27 Feb 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Woman striker at picket line with sign

Strike action is continuing to disrupt trade and the movement of goods as workers continue their walkouts in disputes over pay and working conditions.

With industrial action affecting a range of sectors, March could prove to be another disruptive month with blockages expected on the railways, at logistics providers and the borders.

Here, the IOE&IT Daily Update looks ahead to the planned strikes that have already been announced.

Rail

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has announced four more days of train strikes in March and April, reports iNews.

Rail workers at 14 major companies will walk out on:

  • Thursday 16 March
  • Saturday 18 March
  • Thursday 30 March
  • Saturday 1 April

The RMT rejected the most recent offer from Network Rail and train operators, with general secretary Mick Lynch warning that members would take “sustained and targeted industrial action over the next few months”.

However, members of another rail union – the Transport Salaried Staffs Association – have voted to accept offers by train companies and have withdrawn planned industrial action, reports Sky News.

The Aslef drivers’ union also remains in talks with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

According to the Independent, train firms affected by the RMT’s actions include leading intercity operators, as well as London commuters and rail services in the North and Midlands.

On 16 March, early and late Eurostar trains linking London with Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam are likely to be curtailed because of the strike by Network Rail signallers.

Borders and ports

There also expected to be around 100,000 civil service workers on strikes on industrial action planned for 15 March, including Border Force staff at ports and airports, reports EuroNews.

Continued protests in France are also set to hit border crossings, with the UK and French government warning of disruption on 7 March as unions continue their protest against pension reforms in France.

Heathrow Airport could also be the subject of walkouts on 17 March, according to union Unite, as 3,000 workers vote on whether or not to down tools in a dispute over pay.

Royal Mail

Members of the Communication Workers Union have voted for further industrial action at Royal Mail, with dates yet to be confirmed.

The union took 18 days of strike action during the second half of 2022 over pay and unagreed changes to terms and conditions.

The fresh ballot of members showed almost 96% were in favour of more strikes unless the deadlock is broken, reports iNews.

Royal Mail said it remained “committed to resolving this dispute and wants to agree a pay and change deal for our people”.

It has also warned of delays to services the day before, during and after the planned strike dates.

Amazon

Meanwhile, workers at logistics giant Amazon’s Coventry site are set to walk out for another two days this week, on 28 February and 2 March, reports Derbyshire Live.

Workers made history in January by being the first employees of the online retailer to take industrial action in the UK.

The Guardian reports that US Amazon union leader Chris Smalls has been flown in to help support his UK colleagues and has promised to use Coventry as a start for a widespread unionisation drive.