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U.K.’s largest container port hit by another strike by workers union

The strike at Felixstowe, which accounts for almost half of the U.K.’s container trade, follows an eight-day walkout last month, the first since 1989

September 28, 2022 03:03 am | Updated 03:03 am IST

Containers stacked at U.K.’s biggest container port Felixstowe. File.

Containers stacked at U.K.’s biggest container port Felixstowe. File. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Around 1,900 workers at the U.K.’s largest container port, Felixstowe, returned to picket lines on Tuesday for an eight-day strike, raising concerns about the country’s supply chains.

The walkout coincides with ongoing action at the port of Liverpool - together affecting 60% of the country’s container port capacity.

The strike at Felixstowe, which accounts for almost half of the U.K.’s container trade, follows an eight-day walkout last month, the first since 1989. 

Workers are demanding a 10% pay rise to match current decades-high inflation rates, with a majority of Unite union members at the port voting to strike. 

The current action will go on until October 5, after the facility’s owner Hutchison Port Holdings, which is owned by a Hong Kong conglomerate, refused to enter further negotiations. 

The company has offered a seven percent wage increase, which amounts to a real-terms pay cut with inflation recently hitting 9.9% and predicted to rise further. 

The port expressed disappointment at the new walkout, but warned there was “no prospect of agreement being reached with the union”. 

“The port is in the process of implementing a very fair pay increase of seven percent plus £500 ($534, 554 euros),” said a port spokesman.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said the port was a “tremendously wealthy company which can fully afford to pay its workers a fair pay increase but has chosen not to in order to boost their already huge profits”.

The action comes after a summer of strikes in Britain, with railway and postal workers, among others, walking out as wages fail to keep up with inflation. 

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