Workers at Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, are set to launch an 8-day strike

A view shows stacked shipping containers at the port of Felixstowe, Britain on October 13, 2021. A picture taken by a drone. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

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LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) – More than 1,900 workers at Britain’s largest container port are set to begin eight days of strike action on Sunday, which their union and shipping companies warn will severely affect trade and supply chains.

Workers in Felixstowe, on England’s east coast, are taking industrial action over a pay dispute, becoming the latest workers to strike in Britain.

“Strike action will cause major disruption and send huge shock waves across the UK’s supply chain, but this dispute is entirely of the company’s own making,” said Bobby Morton, the union’s national officer for dockyards.

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“It is [the company] We have had every opportunity to make a fair offer to our members, but have chosen not to.”

On Friday, Felixstowe’s operator Hutchison Ports said it believed a 7% pay rise and a lump sum of 500 pounds ($604) was justified. It said the Port Workers Union, which represents about 500 employees in supervisory, engineering and clerical jobs, has accepted the deal.

Unite, which mainly represents dock workers, says the proposal is significantly below the current rate of inflation and follows last year’s below-inflation increase.

“The port regrets the impact this action will have on UK supply chains,” a Hutchison Ports spokesman said.

The port said it will have a contingency plan in place and work to minimize disruption during the walkout, which will last until August 29.

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Shipping Group Maersk (MAERSKb.CO)One of the world’s largest container shippers has warned that the move will have a significant impact, causing operational delays and forcing it to make changes to its shipping line.

Figures released on August 17 showed Britain’s consumer price inflation hit 10.1% in July, the highest since February 1982, and some economists had forecast it would hit 15% in the first three months of next year. read more

Pressure on household incomes has already led to strikes by the likes of rail and bus workers demanding pay rises.

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Reporting by Michael Holden

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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