Thousands of dock workers at the port of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, will lay down for eight days from Sunday. The strike will severely disrupt the flow of goods to and from the UK. The port accounts for a third of the total container volume in the country.
With the action, port employees want to reinforce their call for better working conditions. Port operator Hutchison Port Said It was disappointed that the conflict was not resolved at the negotiating table. An offer to increase wages by 8 percent was previously rejected by union Unite. An invitation to further negotiations was therefore also rejected.
More than 1,900 workers in Britain’s largest container port begin an eight-day strike on Sunday that their union and shipping companies warn could have serious implications for trade and supply chains.
Workers in Felixstowe, on the east coast of England, take an industrial strike in a wage dispute and become the last workers to go on strike in Britain, as unions demand higher wages for members facing a cost-of-living crisis.
“The strike will cause significant disruption and cause massive shockwaves throughout the UK supply chain, but this disagreement was entirely made by the company,” said Bobby Morton, the national officer for Unite Docks.
Several shipping companies already indicated that they wanted to avoid Felixstowe during the period. For example, certain ships of A. P. Moller-Maersk, the world’s second largest container carrier, will skip the usual stopover in the British port. The goods destined for Felixstowe will be unloaded on the European mainland or at other British ports and, where possible, later shipped to their final destination.
According to data analysis firm Russell Group, the strike may have an impact on $ 800 million in trade. It is still too early to calculate the wider impact of the action. Then it concerns, for example, the damage due to longer delivery times and higher costs. According to digital freight platform Flexport, it could take around 24 days before the delays incurred by the strike will have receded. The effects could be felt far beyond the UK.
A spokesman for Hutchison Ports said: “the port regrets the impact this measure will have on UK supply chains.”
The port said it would have a contingency plan and was working to reduce disruptions during the strikes, which will last until August 29.
Maersk Shipping Group (MAERSKb.CO)one of the world’s largest container shipping companies warned that the measure would have a significant impact, cause operational delays and force it to make changes to the ship supply.
Figures released on August 17 showed that consumer price inflation in Britain reached 10.1% in July, the highest level since February 1982, and some economists expect it to reach 15% in the first three months of next year amid rising energy and food costs. Read more
The pressure on family income has already led to strikes by Railway and bus workers, among others, to demand higher wage increases.