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Felixstowe: Is a Dock Strike Inevitable?

UK’s biggest container port is under threat as talks to avert a dock strike broke down.

Talks to avert a dock strike at Felixstowe collapsed, and no further talks have been planned

Felixstowe port raised their 7% wage offer increase with an additional lump sum payment of £500. However, this proposal was turned down by Unite union. The talks broke down, with both sides casting blame on the other. No further meetings are planned before the strike begins.

The eight-day strike is scheduled to commence on 21 August. Shipping lines are planning to reschedule calls at the port, with some carriers considering bringing UK imports in earlier to discharge before the strike.

“We are disappointed and regret that, despite our best efforts, we have still been unable to reach an agreement with Unite.”

Felixstowe Port spokesperson

“We urge them to consult their members on the latest offer as soon as possible,” he continued. “There will be no winners from a strike which will only result in their members losing money they would otherwise have earned.”

However, the national officer for Unite confirmed that the strike would go ahead unless an improved offer was brought to the table. The union says it has an overwhelming mandate following a 92% vote last month in favour of industrial action to support wage negotiations.

“It can afford to put forward a reasonable pay offer to our members, but once again has chosen not to.”

Robert Morton, Unite National Officer

If the strike does go ahead, it is likely that business will be transferred to Southampton or Gateway. This business switch could become permanent in the face of lengthy industrial action.

The question is, will the talks resume in time?

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