A second port in the UK, Liverpool, could grind to a halt following a dockers’ vote to strike. Felixstowe stevedores are expected to begin an eight-day strike on 21 August. The Liverpool and Felixstowe dockers are members of the Unite union, and a ballot of port engineer members is also under way and set to close on 24 August.
Unite said: “More than 500 port operatives will strike over an inadequate 7% pay offer,” calling it “a real-terms pay cut”. The ballot of union members at Liverpool saw 99% vote in favour of a strike, on an 88% turnout.
Mersey Dock and Harbour Company, the Peel Ports subsidiary that runs Liverpool Port, made a £30m ($36.23m) profit last year.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “What’s happening at MDHC is another example of why workers in this country have had enough. Once again, a profitable company controlled by a tax-exiled billionaire is refusing to give its workers a cost-of-living pay rise. “Our members at MDHC have Unite’s complete backing and support in these strikes for a fair pay rise.”
Peel Ports’ majority shareholder is UK tycoon John Whittaker, who, Unite claims, has amassed a £1.4bn fortune and, like his company, is based in the Isle of Man. Investment fund Australian Super is the group’s second largest investor, said the union.