Employees at Felixstowe, the UK’s main container port, will begin a strike of more than a week later this month amid discontent over the failure of wage negotiations. According to the Unite Union, the strike of nearly 2,000 port workers will continue from August 21-29.
The port of Felixstowe, northeast of London, accounts for nearly half of the containers handled in the UK. It was recently announced that employees had agreed to strike after negotiations over a wage increase collapsed. The port is owned by Hutchison Ports. A 7 percent salary increase was offered, but it was rejected. Dock workers want more wages to offset higher inflation.
Union Unit says it will close the port entirely with the strike, with serious disruptions to logistics and transportation. According to the union, this will be hard to feel in UK supply chains. Felixstowe handles nearly 2,000 vessels and more than 4 million containers each year.
Hutchison Ports says it will be the first strike at Felixstowe since 1989. The company will continue talks with unions next week and hopes to find a solution to prevent the action.
Britain’s exit from the European Union last year forced many large ships to divert to other ports due to congestion in Felixstowe. Due to the lack of drivers, the containers cannot be transported inland. Nor was there a place to store containers in the port.