Dockworkers at the UK’s Port of Liverpool will walk off the job for two weeks beginning September 19 over pay and working conditions after rejecting management’s latest proposal.
The port’s owner, Peel Group, modestly upped its below-inflation pay offer in the most recent round of contract negotiations, but with inflation expected to reach 18% by the end of the year, Liverpool’s dockworkers claim it is effectively a pay cut.
With the cost of essential goods, including food, well above the rate of inflation, union members said the tabled offer was “laughable,” especially after Peel failed to honor several promises it made in the 2021 contract agreement, including pay pledges and improving shift rotas, all while generating more than $30m in profits last year.
The Unite union’s general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Workers across the country are sick to death of being told to take a hit on their wages and living standards while employer after employer is guilty of rampant profiteering. [Liverpool] is controlled by a tax-exiled billionaire and can well afford to pay these workers a proper pay rise. [The port] needs to think again, table a reasonable offer, and fulfill previous pay promises.”
The strike action will severely disrupt shipping and road transport in Liverpool, and comes on heels of an eight-day strike action in Felixstowe last month which congested UK supply lines.
Several carriers announced late last month that they were already working on contingency plans, which will most likely include alternate gateways or rotation changes.
More strike actions at both Liverpool and Felixstowe are expected in the coming weeks if the ports continue to fail to put forward acceptable offers.