September 23, 2022

Dockworkers go on strike at UK’s biggest port – POLITICO

Workers at Britain’s biggest port went on strike on Sunday in a move that risks further disruption to British trade, already battling industrial action in several sectors including transport, manufacturing and retail. detail.

A total of 1,900 Port of Felixstowe workers walked off the job on the first day of an eight-day strike. The port handles more than 4 million containers per year and can accommodate the largest freighters in operation. It provides services to and from over 700 ports around the world.

Port staff want better wages as the cost of living crisis squeezes their income.

An offer of a 7% pay rise and a lump sum of £500 (€589) has already been accepted by the Port Workers‘ Union, which represents around 500 workers in supervisory, engineering and Office. But the dockworkers rejected the offer from the port operator, Hutchison Ports.

They say it is significantly lower than the current inflation rate, which has now topped 10% for the first time in 40 years.

“The industrial action comes just as global supply chains are starting to work more smoothly,” Chris Rogers, senior supply chain economist at shipping company Flexport, told POLITICO last week.

Given the long lead times for goods from Southeast Asia, strikes starting now are likely to impact goods ordered for the Christmas market, he said.

The British Ports Association played down the potential impact on supply chains, pointing out that other ports have the capacity to receive more ships.

Some other ports, however, have said they will not accept goods destined for Felixstowe in solidarity with the strikes, while others are also planning their own industry, including the UK’s fourth largest port, Port Peel of Liverpool.