Freight News, Sea

Felixstowe strike looms in August

[ July 28, 2022   //   ]

The Unite union says that its 92% of its members have voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay and that the UK’s largest container  could come to a standstill next month

Unite members at Felixstowe are responsible for all aspects of the port’s operation. It says the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company is offering a pay increase of 5% but this would be an effective pay cut given that inflation is currently standing at 11.9%. It adds that year the workforce received a below inflation pay increase of 1.4% last year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The bottom line is this is an extremely wealthy company that can fully afford to give its workers a pay rise. Instead it chose to give bonanza pay outs to shareholders touching £100 million.

 “Workers should not be paying the price for the pandemic with a pay cut. Unite has undertaken 360 disputes in a matter of months and we will do all in our power to defend workers.”’

Unite says that the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company is extremely profitable with pre-tax profits of £61 million in 2020, when it also paid out £99 million in dividends.

Unite adds that the company’s dividends are paid into a complicated company structure but are principally received by the organisation’s ultimate holding company, CK Hutchison Holdings, which is registered in the Cayman Islands and listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Unite regional officer Miles Hubbard said: “Strike action at Felixstowe will inevitably create huge disruption across the UK’s supply chain.

“This dispute is of Felixstowe’s own making. Strike dates have yet to be announced but even at this late stage the dispute could be resolved by the company returning to negotiations and making a realistic offer.”