The dockers at Felixstowe, the largest container port in the UK, voted to strike in August because the salary increase was only 5%, which was lower than the inflation rate of 11.8%. The proportion of union members in favor of the strike was as high as 92% (the turnout rate 81 per cent), their union Unite pointed out that (with such high inflation) the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company's proposed pay rise effectively amounts to a pay cut.
Felixstowe Wharf and Rail is a subsidiary of Hutchison Ports, which handles around 48% of the UK's container trade, handling around 45,000 containers a week, including clothing, consumer goods and manufacturing parts. The union's strike coincides with the peak production season at the port, where the number of containers handled began to grow in August as retailers restocked in preparation for Christmas.
The Unite union has 1,900 members responsible for all aspects of the operation of Felixstowe Port. Once the strike will mean that this logistics hub will be interrupted, ships will not be able to enter the port, and trucks will not be able to deliver boxes and suitcases, affecting the supply chain throughout the UK. People There are fears that this will drive up shipping costs, further fuelling inflation.
Unite union secretary Sharon Graham said: “(Felixstowe Docks and Rail) is rich and well-positioned to give workers a pay rise, but the company has opted to hand out bonuses of close to £100m to shareholders. Last year, the company is only giving workers a 1.4% pay rise." Felixstowe Docks and Rail's announcement showed its 2020 pre-tax profit was close to £61m. Paul Davey, spokesman for the company, said: "Our proposal is very fair and we are disappointed by the result of the vote. The union has agreed to our request to meet with the Arbitration Bureau next week and we hope that any industrial action can be avoided."
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