The UK’s supply chain faces “huge disruption” over the coming months after staff at a key UK shipping terminal voted overwhelming to strike – according to the union representing those staff members.
Reuters reports that workers at the Port of Felixstowe, represented by the union Unite, voted by over 92% on an 81% turnout to strike in a dispute over pay.
According to the Telegraph, the port is responsible for almost half (48%) of the UK’s container trade, and industrial action would threaten operations at early stages of the peak season when importers are preparing for the Christmas period.
Supply chain standstill
“Strike action would bring Felixstowe to a standstill and would cause major logistical problems for maritime and road haulage transport entering the port,” Unite said in a statement on their website.
Unite regional officer Miles Hubbard said a strike “will inevitably create huge disruption across the UK’s supply chain”. He added that Unite had about 1,900 members at the port.
According to the BBC, port spokesman Paul Davey said: "Both parties are still talking and we hope to avoid any industrial action."
The dispute centred over a pay offer of 5%, which Unite has said was effectively a pay cut when compared to the rate of inflation.
"The company made what we believe to be a very fair offer and we are disappointed with the result of the ballot," said Davey.
Summer of discontent
Sky News reports that the strike will take place next month if talks do not progress.
The proposed industrial action would form part of a wider union campaign for improvements to wages in response to the cost of living crisis.
This has so far resulted in national rail and Tube strikes - with the prospect of more industrial action to follow.