Unite said 92% of its members at Felixstowe, the UK’s biggest container port, voted in favour of strike action.
Workers have voted to strike at the UK’s busiest gateway for containers in a dispute over pay. The union Unite said 92% of its members at the Port of Felixstowe voted in favour of strike action following an 81% turnout for the ballot. Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company has offered a pay increase of 5%.
A date for the proposed strike has not yet been agreed. Port spokesman Paul Davey said: “Both parties are still talking and we hope to avoid any industrial action.The company made what we believe to be a very fair offer and we are disappointed with the result of the ballot.”
In a statement, Unite said: “The dispute is a result of the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company offering a pay increase of just 5% to its workers. This is an effective pay cut with the real (RPI) rate of inflation currently standing at 11.9%.”
Last year the workforce received a below inflation pay increase of 1.4%, according to the union. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “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 £100m.”
Any strike action at Felixstowe will inevitably create huge disruption across the UK’s supply chain, should the 1,900 members at the port – virtually the entire manual work staff – choose to go ahead with industrial action. The Port of Felixstowe handles 48% of container trade, the union said. Toy companies relying on importing stock will need to monitor the situation closely in the weeks ahead.