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Workers at Britain’s largest container port, Felixstowe, begin an eight-day strike

Workers at Britain's largest container port, Felixstowe, begin an eight-day strike
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A view shows stacked shipping containers at the port of Felixstowe, Britain, on October 13, 2021. Image captured by a drone. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

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LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) – More than 1,900 workers at Britain’s biggest container port are due to start an eight-day strike on Sunday that their union and shipowners warn could seriously affect trade and supply chains.

Workers at Felixstowe on the east coast of England are on strike in a wage dispute, becoming the latest workers to strike in Britain as unions demand higher wages for members facing a cost of living crisis.

“Strike action will cause huge disruption and send massive shockwaves across the UK supply chain, but this dispute is entirely company-initiated,” said Bobby Morton, Unite union’s national docks officer.

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“It [the company] had every opportunity to make our members a fair offer but decided against it.”

On Friday, Felixstowe operator Hutchison Ports said it thought its offer of a 7% pay rise and a lump sum of £500 ($604) was fair. The port workers’ union, which represents about 500 workers in supervisory, engineering and clerical positions, has accepted the deal, it said.

Unite, which mainly represents dockers, says the proposal is well below the current inflation rate and followed a below-inflation rise over the past year.

“The port regrets the impact this measure will have on UK supply chains,” said a spokesman for Hutchison Ports.

The port said it has a contingency plan and is working to minimize disruption during the strikes, which will last until August 24. 29

Maersk shipping group (MAERSKb.CO)one of the world’s largest container shippers, has warned the action would have a significant impact, causing operational delays and forcing it to make changes to its ships’ lineup.

Figures released on August January showed UK consumer price inflation hit 10.1% in July, the highest since February 1982, and some economists are forecasting it to hit 15% in the first three months of next year amid rising energy and food costs becomes. Continue reading

Pressure on household incomes has already led to strikes by train and bus workers demanding higher pay rises.

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Reporting by Michael Holden

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Policy.

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