Dockers at Port of Felixstowe will strike for eight days from August 21 as workers reject ‘improved’ pay offer after last-ditch talks

  • Talks aimed at avoiding strikes at the UK’s biggest container port broke down  
  • The Port of Felixstowe offered workers £500 and a seven per cent pay rise 
  • Unite demanded a new pay offer ‘which meets out members’ expectations’  

Talks intended to avoid a strike by dock workers have broken down after they failed to resolve a dispute over pay.

Members of the Unite union at the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk – the UK’s biggest container port – are set to walk out for eight days from August 21.

The port authority said it offered port workers a £500 lump sum and a seven per cent pay rise during talks on Monday, an offer that was rejected by union members.

A spokesman said: ‘We are disappointed and regret that, despite our best efforts, we have still been unable to reach an agreement with the hourly branch of Unite.

 The Port of Felixstowe authority said it had been unable to reach an agreement over pay ‘despite our best efforts’ 

The Port of Felixstowe on the south-east coast is the biggest container port in the country and handles almost half of all the container traffic in the UK

‘During talks yesterday the port further improved its position, offering a £500 lump sum in addition to 7%.

‘The staff branch of Unite and the Police Federation of Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company have agreed to put a similar offer to their members.

‘In contrast, the hourly branch of Unite has again rejected the port’s improved position and refused to put it to its members.

‘We urge them to consult their members on the latest offer as soon as possible. There will be no winners from a strike which will only result in their members losing money they would otherwise have earned.

‘Our focus has been to find a solution that works for our employees and protects the future success of the port. The union has rejected the company’s offer to meet again.’

A spokesperson for Unite blasted the port’s failure to reach an agreement, saying: ‘It has had every opportunity make our members a fair offer but has chosen not to do so’

Workers at the port are demanding more pay amid the spiraling cost of living crisis across the country. They were given a pay rise of just 1.4 per cent last year, according to Unite.

The union said the strike would have a serious impact on UK shipping and supply chains, as almost half the UK’s containers pass through the Port of Felixstowe. 

Bobby Morton, of Unite’s national office for docks, said last week: ‘Strike action will cause huge disruption and will generate massive shockwaves throughout the UK’s supply chain, but this dispute is entirely of the company’s own making. 

‘It has had every opportunity make our members a fair offer but has chosen not to do so.

‘Felixstowe needs to stop prevaricating and make a pay offer which meets our members’ expectations.’

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