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Felixstowe Port Accuses Union of Letting Down Dockworkers

A view shows stacked shipping containers at the port of Felixstowe, Britain, October 13, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Felixstowe Port Accuses Union of Letting Down Dockworkers

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August 24, 2022

By John Bowker and Siddharth Philip (Bloomberg) —

Britain’s largest container ship port has accused the union behind an ongoing strike of acting against the interests of workers, saying many are unhappy at not being able to vote on the company’s latest pay offer.

Felixstowe said the Unite labor group is “promoting a national agenda at the expense of many of our employees,” in an escalation of the row between the company and union bosses.

The port, owned by a unit of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., has proposed a deal worth 8.1% to 9.6% this year, a spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. The Unite union is pushing for a raise of at least 10%, with industrial action by about 2,000 dockers threatening to extend beyond the eight days currently planned.

“A lot of our employees feel let down by Unite,” the spokesperson said. “Many employees have told us they want to come to work but feel too uncomfortable to do so.”

The Felixstowe strike — one of many that have broken out across the UK — is upending supply chains in the country as goods are left unprocessed and undelivered. Dock workers at the Port of Liverpool have also authorized a strike.

Inflation is on track to rise above 18% next year, investment bank Citigroup has predicted, having already climbed to 10.1%. That’s triggered fears of a worsening cost-of-living crisis over the winter months.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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