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Port of Liverpool dock workers begin two-week strike

Dock workers strike at Port of Liverpool over ‘pay cut dressed up as rise’ after a one-day delay as a mark of respect for Queen Elizabeth II.

Hundreds of workers at the Port of Liverpool, one of the United Kingdom’s main container ports, will begin a two-week strike over pay on Monday evening, a move that could severely disrupt UK supply lines.

The industrial action at Liverpool port was scheduled for Monday morning but was delayed until Monday evening as a mark of respect for Queen Elizabeth II’s royal burial.

The Liverpool strike, which was declared earlier this month, will coincide with a second walkout by workers at Felixstowe, Britain’s largest container port, which begins on September 27.

According to Unite, around 560 port operatives and maintenance engineers employed by Mersey Docks and Harbour Company (MDHC) are striking in Liverpool for a salary increase of about 8.3%.

Steve Gerrard, the Unite lead officer for freeports, stated: “The strike is an absolute last resort, but we were compelled to take action because they refused to make a reasonable offer.”

“The earnings that this company’s shareholders and directors have been earning increase yearly, yet they claim that they cannot afford to give workers a raise. It is abhorrent, and they must halt the cycle of greed.”

“We do not wish to upset the general population or the supply chain, but we have no other option.”

He added: “We have 13 days of scheduled strike action; it was originally supposed to be two weeks, but we cancelled the first day out of respect for the Queen’s death. If the corporation does not present a reasonable proposal, additional strikes could be organised. Unfortunately, it does not appear as if the corporation is interested in further conversations.”

MDHC’s owner, Peel Ports Group, said that employees turned down an 8.3% pay raise that was supplemented by a one-time payment of 750 pounds.

According to the union, the wage raise expectations amount to around 20%.

With inflation over 10% in July and the Bank of England forecasting it to exceed 13% next month, Unite claims MDHC’s salary offer signifies a “real terms pay cut.”

It is the latest strike to interrupt train services across the UK this summer, and it comes amid widespread industrial unrest affecting businesses ranging from aviation and transportation to nurses and attorneys.

Speaking with the Liverpool Echo, Mike Jay, an engineer at MDHC, stated, “All we want is a wage increase that matches the present cost of living crisis and the Retail Price Index, which is approximately 12.3%. We have not been afforded a great deal in the negotiation room. Since June, we have only had two meetings.”

Yesterday, September 20, Liverpool MPs Kim Johnson and Ian Byrne, as well as international delegations from docking firms based in Spain, France, Sweden, and Denmark, joined striking workers at the picket line.

In order to keep things moving, logistics managers are sending their containers to the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam. Then, they move the goods from the ocean freight containers to the road freight vehicles that will take the goods to the UK. They could also ship to Ireland and then take a ferry to Grangemouth in the United Kingdom. Containers are also being sent to Bremerhaven and Hamburg.

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